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Milwaukee and state officials talk unity at North End groundbreaking

2/16/2012 - The Business Journal by Sean Ryan, Reporter

For an event dedicated to slinging dirt, Thursday's North End groundbreaking in Milwaukee was mostly about cooperation between city, county and state government officials.

Mandel Group Inc.’s second phase of the Park East project will have 155 apartments. It received a loan from the city of Milwaukee, but the largest share of public financing, to the tune of $26 million, came from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Gov. Scott Walker attended the event, sitting next to County Executive Chris Abele, who took Walker’s old post, and Rocky Marcoux, city development commissioner. Mayor Tom Barrett, who ran against Walker for governor, was
unable to attend, Marcoux said.

Marcoux gave the most colorful statement on governmental cooperation, saying that although his boss and Walker don’t agree on everything, political differences cannot stand in the way of development initiatives.

“When it comes to economic development, it isn’t red, it isn’t blue, it’s green,” Marcoux said. “It’s about how we create jobs and move forward.”

Walker echoed a common mantra among city of Milwaukee officials.
“For Wisconsin to succeed, we need a strong Milwaukee, and for Milwaukee to succeed we need investments like this,” Walker said.

Barry Mandel, president of Milwaukee-based Mandel Group, jumped on the cooperation bandwagon and remarked,
mid-statement, “it is just wonderful that everybody agreed today.”

He extended a hand to Marcoux and made a call for a more comprehensive and proactive development strategy for Milwaukee, including seeking state approval for new tools to support
projects.

“All levels of government must be in synch, and as everybody today has said, the North End is an example that it can be done,”he said.

Sean Ryan reports on real estate, construction and public transit in southeast Wisconsin.

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