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Park East Corridor

From Spur to Spectacular

Milwaukee is one of very few cities in the country to demolish an elevated freeway for the benefit of surrounding neighborhoods and to create new valuable land for development. The land was once the Park East Freeway, a mile-long spur that was built as part of a larger plan to encircle the Downtown business district with expressways.

The freeway project, however, was never completed due in part to opposition from neighborhood groups and businesses.

Though the land east of the spur had been cleared for the right-of-way needed to continue the Park East Freeway, it remained undeveloped until the state removed its designation as a transportation corridor. This led to the creation of the East Pointe Neighborhood, a community of shops, townhouses, condominiums and rental properties, part of a revival of residential construction in Downtown Milwaukee.

The success of the East Pointe Neighborhood and the resurgence of Downtown Milwaukee convinced officials the time was right to demolish Downtown freeways and replace them with mixed-use neighborhoods. In 1999, the removal of the spur was approved by the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee. Three years later, utilizing Federal ISTEA money and local Tax Increment Financing, removal of the Park East Freeway began.

The elevated freeway spur was replaced with the at-grade, six-lane McKinley Boulevard, which is fully connected to the existing and newly recreated street grid. New block configurations opened up 24 acres of downtown property for redevelopment.

Simultaneously, the City of Milwaukee created the Park East Redevelopment Plan that outlines development rules and guidelines in clear and easy to understand terms to assist developers through the entitlement process. The land became an open canvas with flexible zoning for developments that permits residential, office, retail, entertainment and light industrial uses.

Over the past decade the Park East Corridor has seen over $452 million in private investment with an additional $551 million worth of private projects currently under construction and an additional $269 million in proposed projects.

For more information or questions regarding the Park East Corridor, contact Lori Lutzka at (414) 286-5846 or


Project Updates



The Moderne opens

As of late spring 2013, construction is complete and The Moderne's 203 apartment units and 14 condominium units are now available! Located on the corner of Old World Third Street and Juneau Avenue, this 30-sotry, $54 million tower serves as the anchor to the Park East Corridor on the west-side of the Milwaukee River.  Carson's Prime Steaks opened in June 2013 and occupies the building's first floor commercial space.  For more information, visit 




The North End - Phase II complete

The Park East's gateway to the north has been visibly transformed with the completion of the Flatiron as well as the first two phases of the North End development project.  In addition to a Riverwalk extension, the project includes the construction of Denim Park, the Park East's newest public plaza and the placement of the Water Tower.  This historic 44,000 pound structure once served the former Pfister & Vogel tannery, which occupied the North End's seven acre development site along N Water Street & its preservation marks the new development rising from the tannery site.  For more information on the North End's three apartment buildings, visit:


MSOE soccer field & parking structure

MSOE's new soccer stadium, which opened in late August 2013, was completed just in time to kick-off their team's fall season. The stadium sits on top of a 382 stall parking structure and abuts a public park just to the north, located along Water Street. 

Avenir breaks ground

Excavation for the first phase of the Park East's newest project began on October 7, 2013.   Once complete, The Avenir, developed by Wangard, will occupy the entire 3-acre block bordered by North Milwaukee, North Jefferson & East Lyon Streets and East Ogden Avenue.  The project's first phase will be 102 apartments, 6,500 square feet of commercial space and a parking structure.  With an anticipated construction cost of $22 million, you can expect completion by September of 2014.  


Explore recent and proposed Park East developments



Contact DCD

Lori Lutzka
Development Projects Manager
(414) 286-5846
Department of City Development
809 North Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202


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