30 March 2005

New Brewers owner thinking retail

In what could be a harbinger of things to come for Oakland, new Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is exploring opportunities to develop land around Miller Park. He even has thought about the issue of preserving the large parking lot there for tailgaters:

Attanasio said he already has been taught about the tradition of tailgating in Milwaukee and the importance of convenient parking at Miller Park.

"I am confident we could come up with a mix that would work," he said. "I look at this as an opportunity to make this an even better place to visit."

Like the Coliseum, Miller Park has over 10,000 parking spaces and is conveniently near an interstate freeway. The new structure replaced the aging but venerable Milwaukee County Stadium, which for decades was a multipurpose facility that had little character.

That's where the parallels end. Miller Park, unlike the Coliseum complex, is a single-attraction venue with little development, especially residential, immediately around it. The Coliseum complex has both the stadium and arena, which offer entertainment all year-round. Miller Park only has the baseball season. The Coliseum also has BART and AC Transit serving it. Milwaukee not only does not have any kind of rail transit system like BART or light rail, but the buses that serve Miller Park only run during baseball games.

Although the city of Milwaukee is open to development ideas, it would appear that luring retail to the area is not a slam-dunk. Even with the differences in comparison to the Oakland situation, Miller Park could become a good case study for any future Coliseum-area development, especially if Milwaukee and the Brewers pursue the construction of a hotel on-site.