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Brownfield Success Stories

Each of these unique and highly successful projects used various resources to redevelop a blighted, Brownfield property.

Colectivo Coffee on Humboldt (formerly Alterra)

The City of Milwaukee acquired 3 separate brownfield sites through tax foreclosure, and assembled them into a single development site. Prior uses of the site left the soil contaminated with high diesel range organic (DRO) concentrations, gasoline range organics (GRO), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and petroleum volatile organic compounds (PVOC). In addition, the groundwater was contaminated with free phase petroleum product fuel oil and RCRA metals. The contamination has since been abated, alleviating any long-term environmental conditions. The removal actions have prevented contaminated groundwater from moving off-site, potentially impacting adjacent residential properties and ultimately reaching the Milwaukee River. Colectivo, a local coffee roaster, developed a neighborhood coffee shop with roasting and distribution operations and leasable office/retail space on two of the properties. The remaining property has been developed as parking for the new retail space and coffee shop. Colectivo has created approximately 28 new full time jobs and 13 part time jobs.

The success of this project depending on various resources:

  • Site Assessment Grant
  • City Tax Foreclosure
  • US EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant 

Harley Davidson Museum

The City of Milwaukee acquired this property in 2002 from Morton Salt. The acquisition was part of a coordinated effort to revitalize the Menomonee Valley and was a priority for redevelopment due to it’s location at the intersection of N. 6th Street and Canal Street at the east end of the Valley. Prior uses of the site left petroleum impacted soil and groundwater, and several underground storage tanks. The contamination has since been abated, and the site currently houses the Harley-Davidson Museum, a $95 million project which opened in July 2008 and is expected to attract over 350,000 visitors each year. The redevelopment increased the assessed value of the property by over $12.3 million, and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce estimates the annual economic impact from the museum at $37 million per year.


The North End

The North End, a $175 million mixed use redevelopment, will consist of 483 residential units (apartments and condominiums) and 25,000 sq. ft. of retail space, built upon a former tannery that heavily impacted the site with petroleum volatile organic compounds, PAH’s and metals. The North End will also include green space and a walkway along the river to attract residents and the general public to the area. Dedicated public space totals 38% of the entire project site. The North End redevelopment project is a key component in the effort to revitalize former industrial brownfields into vibrant neighborhoods that provide opportunities for Milwaukee’s residents to live, work and shop.



The City of Milwaukee acquired this tax-delinquent, 1.1 acre corner lot in 2004. Medovations, a research based medical device manufacturing company, showed interest in acquiring the property to expand their current operations. The site had been previously utilized for tanning operations, and assessment activities revealed the parcel was impacted with PAH’s, metals and VOC’s. Medovations is headquartered in Milwaukee and occupies a historic 80,000 sq. ft. building directly east of the project site across an alley. Since 2000 their net sales have increased 82 percent. To continue this growth rate, the redevelopment includes a 37,000 sq. ft. building addition. Building construction commenced in September 2008 and is now complete.


Sherman Perk

Sherman Perk serves coffee and food to residents of the Sherman Park neighborhood.  Formerly a 1930's service station, the building was rehabilitated for use as the coffee shop.  This site was property-tax delinquent for 10 years and the building was boarded-up. Five underground storage tanks were removed during the redevelopment of this property. 


Small Animal Hospital

Formerly occupied by a waste paper company, 2342 N. Newhall Street will become the site for the new Small Animal Hospital. This property was tax delinquent since 1993.

The building will be demolished, and an underground storage tank will be removed prior to remediation and construction.


Heartlove Place

Heartlove Place is an elderly care facility on Milwaukee's North Side.  The site at 3229 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive had been previously occupied by a variety of uses, and a site investigation revealed contaminated fill material.  The clean up and redevelopment of the site resulted in 30 new jobs for area residents.


The Sigma Group

The Sigma Group redeveloped this brownfield property on West Canal Street in the Menomonee River Valley.


City of Milwaukee Department of Administration Director Sharon Robinson 


 Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee

809 North Broadway

Milwaukee, WI 53202 


Email: [email protected]


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