Milwaukee Press Club: Whose lake front is it?

For more information, please contact:

Joette Richards, (262)894-2224

On Tuesday February 12, 2013, the Milwaukee Press Club proudly presents a Behind the Headlines look at one of the hottest issues affecting downtown Milwaukee. Event will be held at Foley & Lardner LLP, conference room on the 40th floor of the U.S. Bank Building, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

When Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced plans for a $125 million lakefront high rise—the 44-story Couture with a 180-room hotel and 179 apartments, the Preserve Our Parks group cried “foul.”

The group maintains that the 2.2 acre parcel involved (current site of Milwaukee County’s Downtown Transit Center) comes under the Wisconsin Constitution’s public trust doctrine. That says the state holds navigable waterways and filled lakebed in trust for public purposes—not private development.

However the DNR later ruled the site had never been lakebed, so the rule didn’t apply. Now the matter could be headed to court. But with more skyline-transforming development on the drawing board than at anytime since 1985 (when Grand Ave. and The Theater District were created) the question looms: who should be making Milwaukee’s big development decisions, especially along Lake Michigan?

To shed light on the issue, MPC presents key players in the debate and a distinguished panel of journalists to quiz them. Audience questions are also welcome.

The panelists include (listed alphabetically):

Rick Barrett, founder of Barrett Visionary Development, is one of the most active developers in downtown Milwaukee. His 30-story Moderne apartment tower, opened in May 2012, is situated near the BMO Harris Bradley Center and Park East corridor. As the Moderne opened, Barrett announced his 44-story Couture not far from the site of Northwestern Mutual’s proposed new $300+ million office high-rise and adjacent to Irgens’ planned 833 East office development.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik representing the 8th District since 2007. Chair of the County Board’s Economic and Community Development Committee, Jursik also chairs the county’s Long Range Strategic Plan Steering Committee, as well as, the Advisory Committee on Lake Arterial Extension Study. Jursik authored the Long-Range Lakefront Planning resolution and has been actively involved in debate over the development of Milwaukee’s lakefront.

Daniel T. Keegan, director of the lakefront Milwaukee Art Museum since 2008. Keegan’s 16 years experience as a Museum director followed 23 years in higher education. Prior to coming to Milwaukee, Keegan directed the San Jose Museum of Art. Keegan has been a champion of building destinations that matter, urban revitalization, and strengthening city economics through cultural tourism.

Rocky Marcoux became Commissioner of the Department of City Development in 2004. Marcoux has overseen redevelopment of the Menomonee Valley, the growth of facilities belonging to Bucyrus International and Manpower, the addition of a Milwaukee Job Corps Center to the region and the downtown Amtrak Station’s rehabilitation. A member of the Long-Range Lakefront Planning Committee, Marcoux has worked closely with developers Mark Irgens and Rick Barrett on proposed lakefront development projects.

The Journalists (listed alphabetically):

Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Sean Ryan, The Business Journal

Third Journalist to be announced

Supporting Sponsors:

BMO Harris Bank

Foley & Lardner LLP


Milwaukee Press Club’s Behind the Headlines is a quarterly program where newsmakers discuss the most pressing issues of the day.

Cost and Registration:

The cost to attend is $20 for MPC members, $25 for non-members. Lunch is included. Seating will be limited. Pre-registration and advance payment is required and may be done online at Checks may be mailed to the MPC at PO Box 176, North Prairie, WI 53153-0176.


The new US Bank parking structure is open for daily parkers. Guests can enter at Clybourn St. or Michigan St. There are reserved visitor parking spots for US Bank guest parkers. From the parking structure, take the elevator down to the B2 level and follow the walkway/signs to the next set of elevators and go up to the Galleria level. Walk past the security station to the middle set of elevators and go up to the 40th floor.

Cancellations will be accepted up to 48 hours in advance for a full refund. Please contact Joette Richards at the Milwaukee Press Club at with any questions; or to pay by credit card, email or call 262-894-2224.