Visualize Milwaukee

My goal is to help Visualize Milwaukee. In particular, I want to keep a pulse on some of the commercial and residential real estate in the area. I have a slant towards revitalizing underutilized properties and areas within the city of Milwaukee. Welcome to Visualize Milwaukee! Let me know what you think, or if there are any areas you want me to cover.

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

I am software engineer by trade and enjoy real estate development as way to improve our community and always see something new each day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Its all about the streetscaping

I have a theory I've been pondering about for the past couple months. Is the value and vitality of Milwaukee's commercial business areas tied to the number of pot holes in the street?
Nice roads = good business = higher taxes
Or is it the other way around:
Poor businesses = lower taxes = poor roads

As I drive around Milwaukee, there is a big mix. A few areas I've noticed:
S. 27th street: Lots of business, crappy roads = Everything seems low-end. I'm not staying here any longer than it takes to get into Walmart, grab my mega size shopping and get out.
Brown Deer Road: Scattered Businesses (some of which are nice, some not so much), poor landscape maintenance = I don't want to leave my car alone sometimes, much less walk around from one shop to the next
N 27th Street (SoHi): Old, beat up road, little/no landscaping = Business is low-end and struggling.
Villard Ave: Roads are OK, landscaping is fairly well maintained but needs a bit of TLC = Consistent business to support the neighborhood.

Then I noticed Silver Spring Road heading West from I-43:
- Pre Glendale: Nice streets, great landscaping = This is taking great advantage of Bayshore Mall, and feels like a nice area. New business are popping up as you get closer to Glendale.
- Glendale: Beautiful streetscaping and brand new streets = New businesses, new development, new public buildings
- 27th Street to Sherman Boulevard: Suddenly Glendale ends and the grass is dead, hasn't been cut, streetpoles are old = Closed up buildings... Eesh, get me out of here!
- Sherman to about 50th: New streets, and the landscape is pretty well maintained = Ahh, back in a nice area! No real business here though due the military base and great park.
- 60th Street: Landscaping is ignored again = Why is this - just as the businesses start again, the streetscape looks like ignored concrete. Once again, the businesses look low end.

So, my theory is: follow the city's street plans to build your business. As I write this, a corner I've mentioned before (76th & Good Hope) is under heavy construction. That intersection has some great benefits, but isn't a place you'll get many people to stop and shop. It just looks battered and run down. Even after the new Andy's and Starbucks (those buildings look great, but somehow you don't notice because the area around it doesn't). We'll see how the new Streetscape looks and if my theory holds water in a few months. There is still some open space for business, so now may be a good time to prepare your plans!

Maybe this is where the City should put its seed money while trying to improve some of the targeted districts. I remember seeing plans for the new streetscape in the SoHi district (N 27th Street), but they never happened. I wonder how much more improvement we would have seen there over the past 2 years with a brand new street?


Blogger Trisha#1 said...

Very observant of you! Here, in our city, when the city government decides it's time to revitalize an area, they will begin with locating a developer to build new retail and will accompany that development with new streets and landscaping. Or, maybe, it's the other way around--where the developer goes to the City with the idea of the new retail center and asks for nice streets and landscaping. Is it the chicken or the egg that comes first? But, yes, I've noticed that in our city as well.

10:48 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home