On Wednesday, workers lifted the final steel beam into place, crowning the new hotel in the Deer District. The Trade, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel, is slated to open in March 2023 on the northwest corner of Vel Phillips and Juneau Avenues.
“The increase represents a significant milestone for the City of Milwaukee, an addition to the fabric of Milwaukee,” said Andy Inman, vice president of development at North Central Group, at the event.
The hotel is on property on the way from the former Park East Freeway extension and is being developed by North Central and built by Findorff. NCG operates nearly 30 hotels in five states, including two in Brookfield: the Brookfield Conference Center and the Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Brookfield Conference Center.
Along with media and dignitaries, the event was attended by many local workers who are building the 207-room hotel announced last year.
Many participants signed the girder before it was lifted into place by a tower crane.
The Bucks championship parade ended on a stage that had been erected on the same gravel lot just north of the hotel almost exactly a year ago.
“The Trade is really about celebrating how things are made,” said Inman. “Today is about celebrating all the people who have helped build The Trade.”
According to Inman, about 75 workers are on site each day and hundreds will help build the nine-story hotel.
“Hospitality is about telling a story,” added Inman. “The Trade tells the story of how Milwaukee came to be; the industries that built Milwaukee that were such an important part of the building of Milwaukee.
“When guests come to The Trade, they see right inside how the city was built, but also the warm hospitality that is part of the Midwest.”
Construction on the hotel — designed by GBA Architects — began last year and has been making rapid progress, according to Bucks President Peter Feigin.
“I’m not sure anyone appreciates the rate at which this is increasing,” he said, tipping his metaphorical hat to Findorff.
“This is part of the grand redefinition of downtown. The Trade helped us achieve our goal of truly creating a place to live and play in downtown Milwaukee.”
“The Deer District has truly become Milwaukee’s living room,” added Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
Before taking a look at the work in progress, Jeff Tubbs, Findorff’s executive vice president, shared some statistics about the building.
The trade includes 214 tons or 428,000 pounds of steel and 7,500 cubic yards of concrete and when complete will have over 30,000 square feet of window glazing and 770,000 square feet of drywall.
“But the statistic we’re most proud of is that there have been zero lost-time accidents,” Tubbs said. “It was an incredibly safe construction site.”
Inside we saw the future lobby, which will hide a kitchen. This kitchen will serve the 5,000-square-foot ballroom on the second floor via an elevator at the back of the home, which will also be used to move VIPs around the building unnoticed and unmolested.
This kitchen will use a “Chill and Re-Therm” system, allowing staff to prepare meals in advance and reheat them on their serving plates. The system is being built by Alto-Shaam of Menomonee Falls.
A £4,000 pizza oven will also be installed on the ninth floor.
The Juneau Avenue side of the building will house the main entrance as well as a 1,000 square foot commercial space for which the developers are seeking a retail tenant who is unlikely to be a food and beverage-centric company.
A grand staircase will connect the first and second floors and a mezzanine level will have a small balcony overlooking Juneau Avenue.
In addition to the ballroom, the second floor will house meeting rooms along the Juneau side and there will be a lounge on the Vel Phillips Avenue side overlooking the Deer District.
Balconies will line practically the entire sides of Phillips and Juneau. The balcony on the east side will have fire tables in cool weather.
At the center of the lounge is a rectangular opening oddly dubbed the ‘Oculus’ which we’re told will feature a ‘unique work of art’.
Guest rooms are already framed on some floors. We visited the third floor and peeked into a junior suite in the southwest corner.
The hotel, which has mostly king beds, has more than 20 suites — all with soaking tubs — including a two-story, 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suite on the eighth and ninth floors in the northwest corner.
This suite will also have two balconies and can be configured to accommodate approximately 10 people.
The third floor also has a fitness center overlooking the Deer District. It will have a 4 inch rubber floor to deaden noise and prevent it from entering the guest rooms.
In an unusual twist that makes sense for a hotel just yards from the Fiserv Forum, the fourth floor has been unofficially dubbed the “NBA Floor.”
This guest room level will be two feet higher than the other floors to accommodate unusually tall guests. Shower heads are installed a foot higher than in the other guest rooms (at 9 feet instead of 8 feet) and the doors feel eight high. There will also be extra high toilets.
Rooms throughout the hotel will feature artwork that spotlights Milwaukee and the city’s history.
Here’s more of what we saw on Wednesday’s tour of the Trade Hotel…