by Michael J. Shapiro | January 01, 2018

Local Update

 Construction is underway on the $524 million Wisconsin Sports and Entertainment Center, the new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise. The venue, scheduled to open in October, just in time for the next basketball season, will be part of an entertainment-laden block that will include a music venue, restaurants and bars. The arena itself is slated to host a wide range of events, such as big-name concerts, and it also will serve as the new home of the Marquette University men's basketball team.

 Also set to debut next fall is the Milwaukee Streetcar, a new public-transit option that will have an initial route of 2.5 miles and serve the city's tourists, workforce and downtown residents. Each streetcar will be 67 feet long and have a total capacity of 150 passengers, both seated and standing. These are electric cars, connected to an overhead "catenary system" that provides the power.

The Harbor District, which is just south of the city's Historic Third Ward, is undergoing a revitalization project. Among developments in the works is a proposed four-mile extension of the Milwaukee RiverWalk, currently a two-mile stretch that runs along the Milwaukee River and through three neighborhoods in the heart of the city. Related plans call for new streets and bike paths throughout the Harbor District.

Meeting Hotels: Properties in the city include the 729-room Hilton Milwaukee Downtown, 481-room Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, 381-room Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 307-room Pfister Hotel, 243-room DoubleTree by Hilton Milwaukee Downtown, 221-room InterContinental Milwaukee, 220-room Westin Milwaukee, 205-room Milwaukee Marriott Downtown, 169-room Courtyard Milwaukee Downtown and 156-room Kimpton Journeyman.

To find and compare hotels, and to send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: Wisconsin Center; exhibit space, approximately 188,695 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 28; (414) 908-6000

Airport Transit: General Mitchell International Airport, about eight miles south of downtown Milwaukee. Transfer cost to the downtown district, $25-$30 by taxi, $15 by Go Riteway Airport Shuttle. Both Uber and Lyft operate in Milwaukee.

 Room tax, 9.5%; sales tax, 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15.1%

Group Venue: Discovery World Science + Technology Center already hosts a variety of educational events and exhibits (including an aquarium), but as of this summer the event space will be more expansive. A new 10,000-square-foot permanent pavilion will replace the seasonal tent previously found to the north of the Technology Building, offering year-round function space on the lakefront. (414) 765-9966.

Contact: Visit Milwaukee, (414) 273-3950