Milwaukee Development Corporation - Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce | Milwaukee, WIOrganizational History

Founded in 1973 as the Milwaukee Redevelopment Corporation, the Milwaukee Development Corporation has served as the business community’s not-for-profit civic developer. It was charged with providing private-sector leadership and financial support to revitalize downtown Milwaukee through the support of 46 leading Milwaukee businesses. The first priority of the organization was stabilizing the central retail district west of the Milwaukee River. The development focus was a $150 million venture that included the construction of the Hyatt Regency, the Henry Reuss Federal Plaza and the Grand Avenue. 

In 2003, Milwaukee Redevelopment Corporation became an affiliate organization of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, changed its name to the Milwaukee Development Corporation (MDC) and expanded its mission to include more broad-based economic development initiatives throughout greater Milwaukee. 

As the business community’s not-for-profit civic developer, the MDC continues to initiate and promote projects that support the Milwaukee community. The MDC is active in the Pettit Ice Center, 30th St. Industrial Corridor, City of Milwaukee Downtown Stakeholders, Menomonee Valley Partners, and the W. Wisconsin Avenue Task Force. 

The MDC has also taken on a leadership role and is the operating entity for the Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership. The affiliation between the MMAC and the MDC strengthens both organizations’ ability to respond to retention, expansion and attraction opportunities that drive economic growth for the region.

Project Profiles:



Board of Directors
updated Oct. 2013

David A. Baumgarten
President of Bank Mutual

Patrick O’Brien
Milwaukee Development Corporation

Tim Sheehy

Frank Krejci
Strattec Security Corp.

Stephen Chernof
Godfrey & Kahn

Jerry Franke

Michael Hatch
Foley & Lardner

Bob Hillis
Direct Supply

John Kissinger

Mike Kogelis
Wells Fargo Bank

Gregory Marcus
The Marcus Corp.

Contact Us:
Milwaukee Development  Corporation (MDC)
756 N. Milwaukee St.,
Ste. 400
Milwaukee, WI  53202

Pat O'Brien
(414) 287.4112

Jim Paetsch
Vice President
(414) 287.4171

Marjorie Yoshida
Administrative Services Manager
(414) 287.4126

The Kenilworth Project

The Kenilworth Project is a partnership with Weas Development to redevelop a former 500,000-square-foot manufacturing building on Milwaukee’s East Side as the new home for UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts, housing for 370 graduate students, parking, retail space, and a linkage to the Lakefront bike trail. The project provides a new tax base and momentum for UWM as it seeks to strengthen its research profile.

Timeframe:   2004-2006
Cost:   $68 million
Developer:   Weas Development/MDC
Architect:   HGA

Harley Davidson Museum 

The MDC played a critical role in helping to free up land in the Menomonee Valley to make way for the Harley-Davidson Museum. The museum opened in 2008 and generates approximately $78 million in annual spending, plus 70 jobs.

Library Hill Apartments

A collection of 139 apartment homes and street-level retail space on Milwaukee’s re-emerging Westown area. Library Hill serves as an anchor to the area between Marquette University and the Frontier Airlines Center. The project was completed with financing assistance from 18 MDC member companies guaranteeing $17.8 million in bonds.

Timeframe:   1997-1998
Cost:   $4.3 million in city money for infrastructure and remediation and $17.8 million in construction costs
Developer:   Mandel Group, construction and building manager
Architect:   Eppstein-Uhen Architects
Award:   Westown Award for Leadership

Milwaukee Center Theater District

With a vision for one-stop enjoyment of Milwaukee’s world-class arts scene, the MDC formed a joint venture with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater to create a downtown Milwaukee Center Theater District. Today, along with the three performance venues for the Milwaukee Rep., the District offers audiences the Historic Pabst Theater, a 200 room hotel (The Intercontinental) with additional meeting space, and a 300,000 square foot office tower.

Timeframe:   1985 – 1987
Cost:   More than $100 million
Developers:   Trammell Crow Company
Architects   Skidmore Owings Merrill (SOM)

Yankee Hill Housing 

The MDC was a joint venture partner with the Madsen Corporation of Madison, Wisconsin in the development of the 354-unit Yankee Hill, the first major housing development in downtown Milwaukee in 20 years. The rental project includes two apartment towers built between Jackson and Van Buren Streets north of Kilbourn Avenue. Leasing has been a resounding success.  

Timeframe:   completed in 1988
Cost:   $30 million
Developer:   Madsen Corporation

East Point Commons

This 11-acre, 3-block site includes 124 apartments and 64 townhouses on property that had been slated for a highway extension that was never built. The project helped revitalize the northeast end of downtown and was designed to blend with existing neighborhood architecture. The MDC served as coordinator and mediator for the project, working together with community and government agencies and secured a tax incremental finance district. The second phase of the project introduced a high-quality grocery store and an additional 18,000 square feet of retail space.

Timeframe:   1987-1992
Developer:   Trammell Crow
Architect:   Nagle Hartray & Associates (Residential) and Eppstein Uhen (Retail)
Awards:   Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence and Best Luxury Condominium Community by the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee

The Grand Avenue

At the time of a deteriorating downtown economy, the redevelopment of west Wisconsin Avenue into the Hyatt Regency, and Henry Reuss Federal Plaza, and the Grand Avenue was a large-scale boost to revitalize the urban marketplace and downtown landscape. The Grand Avenue project covered four city blocks and included 125 shops with two existing department stores, combining new construction with historic architecture and totaling 245,000 square feet of retail space. The Grand Avenue (today, the Shops at Grand Avenue) fostered important partnerships between the business community and the City of Milwaukee. The MDC was the catalyst for the project, responsible for $16 million in stockholder equity.

Timeframe:   December 1980-August 1982
Cost:   $70 million
Developers:   The Rouse Company, The City of Milwaukee, MDC
Architects:   Elbasani, Logan & Severin Design Group
  • Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence for Large Scale Commercial Retail Development
  • Consulting Engineers Council of WI -Engineering Excellence Award
  • Preservation Award from the Milwaukee County Historical Society for restoration of the Plankinton Arcade


Associated Bank
Bank Mutual
Briggs & Stratton Corp.
Direct Supply
Foley & Lardner

Irgens Development Partners
Johnson Controls, Inc.
Mandel Group
Marcus Corporation
Master Lock Company
Milwaukee Economic Dev. Corp.

Northwestern Mutual
Park Bank
Robert W. Baird & Co.
Roundy’s Supermarkets
Towne Investment