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Hotel Valuation Factors: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (PDF Download)

An expansion cycle is underway in the home of brews, bikes and bratwurst. This article examines local demand generators, appropriate valuation techniques, and presents development opportunities for this market with a focus on the downtown area.

HVS Hotel Valuation Factors: Milwaukee, Wisconsin - By Todd S. Lamb, Ke Jin and Hans Detlefsen

Milwaukee –  Brew City on the Rebound

Perhaps best known as the home of the Miller Brewing Company and Major League Baseball’s Brewers, visitors of Milwaukee will also find influences from Bavarian cultures and the American motorcycle. Yes, the winters are frigid, but residents are rewarded with summer festivals along the shores of Lake Michigan and an impressive restaurant and brewpub scene year-round. 

As the largest city in the state of Wisconsin, Milwaukee has approximately 600,000 residents today. Population is on the rise again following a few decades of decreasing numbers. The greater Milwaukee economic base is varied, with the service, manufacturing, and technological industries exhibiting some dominance. The major employers in the area are primarily related to the health care and manufacturing industries. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has been headquartered here since 1903 and has had a major influence on the region, as the state of Wisconsin is the fourth highest per capital in motorcycle ownership. Harley’s 110th anniversary party and parade drew over 100,000 spectators to the Milwaukee lakefront in July 2013.

Milwaukee is also home to numerous colleges and universities including Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cardinal Stritch University, Concordia University, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. These institutions provide a diverse education and contribute to a well-educated workforce. 

Visitors of Milwaukee may be surprised to find that the city is rich in history, as it was Miller Park and Downtown Milwaukee inhabited originally by several Native American tribes. The city was founded in 1785 and became a major destination for German and Polish immigrants in the nineteenth century. Several historic neighborhoods exist today with residential and commercial structures dating back to the 1860’s. 

The  Milwaukee  hospitality  market  includes  hotels  ranging  from  economic  to  resort properties. The purpose of this article is to examine factors that influence hotel values in  this  market.  The  article  first  provides  a  historical  overview  of  the  downtown Milwaukee market and examines supply and demand factors affecting the local lodging industry. The authors then discuss factors pertinent to the sales, cost, and income approaches used by professional valuation experts.

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