Economic Analysis Shows Milwaukee’s Water Technology District has spurred $211.6 Million in Development

MILWAUKEE, WI. SEPT. 24, 2015 – The Water Council, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) released an Economic Investment Analysis ( of the Water Technology District in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, which found that $211.6 million worth of development has occurred since 2012 when it became the epicenter of water technology and freshwater research.

“When moving around this area of Milwaukee you can easily see the transformation that has occurred with the renovation of old buildings and the location of new businesses,” stated Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “Now, for the first time, we have actual numbers to back-up what has been evident to the eye.”

The analysis, which does not include any economic impact multiplier, focuses on the impact of investments related to water technology, their associated actions, their place, and their time. The time period of the analysis extends between 2010 and 2014. It encompasses portions of Walker’s Point, the Fifth Ward, and the Harbor District. The study area is bounded to the north by the Menomonee River, to the east by the Inner Harbor, to the south by Greenfield Avenue, and to the west by Interstate 43/Interstate 94. The report defines these boundaries as “The Water Technology District.”

“Too often the assessment of economic development impact starts and ends with the jobs produced or capital investment made as a direct result of a single project. Little attention is paid to the indirect benefits of economic development strategies once deployed,” stated Lee Swindall, vice president business and industry, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.  “That’s what makes this analysis unique and it’s what defines Wisconsin’s water technology cluster as a textbook case study on the profound impact of a comprehensive cluster development approach.”

The analysis also found the following findings:


“UWM, business and civic communities are collaborating in ways that we have not seen before,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “The results are clear: this level of partnership has accelerated the Water Technology District and the region in remarkable ways. We’re bolstering the area’s economic vitality and making lifelong differences to our students through research opportunities, our alumni who are leading the way in the water sector, and all those who live and work in the District.”

The Water Council partnered with UWM in the Water Technology Accelerator, which provides world-class labs and equipment for UWM researchers and their collaborators to move innovative science to commercial application and develop technologies suitable for pre-production prototype formulation and evaluation.

The Economic Analysis demonstrates that new commercial development, new business creation and new residential options are reinvigorating a once ignored area, creating a preferred destination for development investment from large corporations, small businesses, commercial banks and real estate developers.

About The Water Council

The Water Council, the only organization of its kind in the United States, was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders. The non-profit organization, consisting of more than 170 members, is linking together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, acclaimed academic research programs and, most importantly, some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic water professionals. The Water Council is capturing the attention of the world and transforming the Milwaukee region into a World Water Hub for freshwater research, economic development and education. For more information, visit or contact us by phone at 414-988-8750.

About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.

About the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, UWM has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. On an operating budget of $705 million, UWM educates more than 28,000 students and is an engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UWM a “2015 Best in the Midwest” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. Its economic impact is more than $1.5 billion per year in Wisconsin alone.