— A new study shows the Milwaukee Brewers and Miller Park have had a $2.5 billion economic impact in Wisconsin over the past two decades, including $1.6 billion in direct spending.
“Being a ‘major league city’ makes a difference not just in civic pride, but also in terms of our regional attractiveness to employers and talent,” said Steve Baas, senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy for MMAC.
The study was conducted by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. It found the state has collected over $605 million in taxes to pay for the ballpark, which has drawn nearly 3 million people on average to Milwaukee every year since 2001.
“Having things like major league baseball, NBA basketball, a world class ballet and symphony are distinctive ‘intangibles’ that give our region an edge over many of our peer cities when competing for jobs and talent,” Baas told WisBusiness.com.
Before 2001, the Brewers had played at Milwaukee County Stadium. But fan attendance rose nearly 80 percent in the first year after Miller Park was built. According to the study, Brewers game attendance was ranked 8th in the league last year despite the team being based in the smallest market in Major League Baseball.
Returning fans will see a new name on the front of the ballpark next year, as American Family Insurance recently announced Miller Park will be renamed American Family Field in 2021.
Around 22 percent of Miller Park event attendees live within the city, while 38 percent live in Milwaukee County. Eighty-six percent of attendees live in the state.
Miller Park’s construction was funded by a 0.1 percent sales tax levied on the surrounding five counties: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Racine. That stadium tax is near its expiration date, and MMAC President Tim Sheehy says the study confirms it was well worth it.
— January home sales in Wisconsin were 8.9 percent higher than the previous January, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
Over 4,100 homes were sold in the state last month, and WRA President and CEO Michael Theo attributes the increased sales to a strong economy and “excellent mortgage rates.” He says home sales increased in every region of the state.
On average, homes were spending 108 days on the market in January 2020, compared to 112 days in the previous January.
Statewide home listings were 14 percent lower over the year in January, with just over 22,000 active listings. And inventory levels decreased 15 percent over the past year.
WRA notes low inventories are driving up the cost of buying a home, as the median price increased 8.6 percent over the previous 12 months to reach $190,000. Rural counties have more than twice as much housing inventory available as metropolitan counties, the report shows.
Inventory levels were lower in January 2020 than they’ve been since December 2009, when WRA began tracking housing inventories in the state. That’s according to WRA Board Chairman Steve Beers, who says the state housing market’s performance is “amazing” given the low inventories.
— Green Bay and Appleton are getting more than $1.5 million in economic development grants, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher says.
“I hope this funding will give our communities the resources they need to help alleviate problems like the lack of affordable housing, and ensure Northeast Wisconsin continues to be the best place in the world to live and raise a family,” the Republican lawmaker said.
Green Bay is set to receive $1,012,287 in Community Development Block Grants and Appleton will get $592,072 to support local government programs aimed at boosting the regional economy. More than half of Green Bay’s grant will go toward affordable housing projects for low-income families.
See grant program details: http://doa.wi.gov/Pages/LocalGovtsGrants/Community-Development-Block-Grant-Small-Cities-Housing-Program.aspx
— A number of development projects in Sheboygan County are being funded in part by assessment grants from the EPA, according to a recent update from the county’s economic development agency.
Through a partnership with a consultancy called Stantec, the county has secured around $1 million of these grants since 2014.
The grants are used to complete environmental assessments for brownfield projects, which entail expanding, redeveloping or otherwise reusing properties that have been contaminated or polluted in some way. These “due diligence” assessments include site sampling and plans for managing hazardous materials.
At least six projects in the county are being funded by funds secured last year. They include: a $30 million Badger State Lofts redevelopment of a multifamily building in Sheboygan; a $13 million market rate apartment building in Sheboygan Falls called the Tannery; and a $45 million, 240-unit apartment complex called the Oscar; and several others.
— Madison-based Understory has launched its supplemental hail insurance product for auto dealers in five more states.
With the addition of Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming, the service is now available to dealers in 17 states. It first launched in November.
Understory CEO Alex Kubicek says auto dealers are “increasingly impacted” by damage from hail storms.
“Auto-Hail Safe allows dealers to supplement their risk management approach and bounce back quickly from a hail storm without the hassle of lengthy claims processes or unmanageable financial deductibles,” he said in a statement.
See more at Madison Startups: http://www.madisonstartups.com/understory-adds-auto-hail-safe-in-five-more-states/
See an earlier story on the company: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2016/understory-returning-to-madison-after-75-million-raise/amp/
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