Downtown Area Plan

Plan Update Underway:

Since the 2010 adoption of the Downtown Area Plan, a significant amount of investment has occurred in Downtown Milwaukee and many of the recommendations and catalytic projects called for in the plan have been implemented or are underway. The area plan is now in need of a strategic update to guide land use decisions, redevelopment of key sites and improvements to streets and public spaces over the next 10-20 years. 

On March 2, 2021, the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee adopted File No. 201357 directing DCD to prepare a strategic update to the Downtown Area Plan. DCD will partner with the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID21) to co-lead the planning effort. The planing process will launch in the fall of 2021, and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.

To receive information about the plan update and opportunities to participate in the process, please sign up for E-Notify and select the Downtown Plan category.


Downtown Area Plan

The Downtown Area Plan Update was adopted by the Common Council on October 12, 2010; and amended on November 27, 2018.

Read the Plan   PDF Files
Read the Executive Summary

Read by chapter:
   Plan Context and Process
   Land Use Strategies and Policies
   Catalytic Projects

Plan Amendments:

Equitable Growth Through Transit Oriented Development (2018)
Update! Milwaukee Lakefront Gateway Project

The Downtown Area Plan is an update to the original 1999 Milwaukee Downtown Plan. The updated plan is not intended to replace the 1999 plan, but rather to build on the vision and successful initiatives of that plan. Since the inception of the 1999 plan most of the goals and objectives have been met, and most of the catalytic projects recommended in the 1999 plan are either completed or underway. This includes the creation of the Milwaukee Public Market, the redevelopment of the Park East Freeway Corridor, the re-use of the historic Pabst Brewery Complex, the renovation and expansion of the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, and the construction and expansion of the Milwaukee Riverwalk.  The 2010 Downtown Area Plan is an attempt to build on the momentum created by the policies and projects of the original 1999 plan and to provide a new vision for the future of Downtown Milwaukee.


Supporting Documents


Downtown Plan Update Report (2008) PDF

Downtown Community Survey: Summary of Responses (2008) PDF

Downtown Retail Study (2009) PDF

Downtown Parking Study (2010) PDF

MacArthur Square Master Plan (2009)

Downtown Market Study (2007)

Hotel Market Study (2007) PDF

Park East Redevelopment Plan (2004)

Westown Design Guidelines (2003)

Third Ward Area Plan (2006)

Third Ward Design Guidelines (2006) PDF

UWM Applied Planning Workshop Report: Haymarket (2011) PDF

Lakefront Plan (1994)

Downtown Information

Milwaukee Downtown (BID#21)

Easttown Association

Westown Association (BID#5)

Historic Third Ward (BID#2)

Historic King Drive (BID#8)

Area Projects and Initiatives


Long Range Lakefront Committee Recommendations (2011)

Milwaukee Streetcar

Park East


The Brewery

Brighten the Passage


With the approval of the Downtown Area Plan, a number of items remain to be done to implement the plan and carry out its goals. This includes the formation of stakeholder group to carry out the detailed catalytic projects. Policy and regulation changes such as zoning code revisions, design guidelines, and specialized task-forces will be needed in order to implement the concepts adopted by this plan. A continued public-private partnership, with strong involvement of the downtown area BIDs and other organizations will help to ensure their efforts become reality in the upcoming decade and beyond.

click to view larger map of plan area
  Click to view larger map of plan area



Area Common Council Members

District 3: Ald. Nik Kovac

District 4: Ald. Robert Bauman

District 6: Ald. Milele A. Coggs



Contact Us

Greg Patin 414.286.5728
       Project Manager

Kyle Gast 414.286.5823
       Project Manager

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