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The Historic Third Ward is a nationally listed Historic District, created in 1984, which includes 70 buildings spread over 10 square blocks. More than 400 businesses dot the landscape of this popular warehouse district — from restaurants, spas, theaters, galleries, gyms and boutiques to marketing/design firms, architects, law offices, real estate and business development, technology/innovation and more. Some namesakes of the neighborhood include the award-winning Third Ward Riverwalk, nationally acclaimed Milwaukee Public Market, stunning Lakeshore State Park and Summerfest, “the world’s largest music festival.”


Several organizations work closely together to guide the Historic Third Ward’s growth and economic development, including the Architectural Review Board, Historic Third Ward Association and Business Improvement District No. 2. Together, these organizations have fostered the incredible growth of the Historic Third Ward, helping to transform it into “an overnight success, 30 years in the making.” Each organization is run by a volunteer board of directors who donate their time and expertise.

Interested in learning more about park rentals in the Historic Third Ward? Click here to inquire!



The Architectural Review Board is responsible for review of design standards for renovations and new construction. In 1997, the Architectural Review Board (ARB) was created by city ordinance to preserve the Third Ward’s heritage, history and collection of period architecture, while encouraging innovative mixed-use development of the neighborhood.

Chair | Alderman Robert Bauman | District 4
Michael DeMichele | DeMichel Commercial Real Estate
Patti Keating Kahn | Historic Preservation Commission
Mark Lawson | Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Greg Patin | Department of City Development
Jim Piwoni | Piwoni Architects
Jim Plaisted | HTWA Executive Director
ARB Coordinator | Matthew Jarosz | JaroszLynch Architects

As a federally designated Historic District, properties located within the Third Ward’s boundaries must obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the ARB for any changes to building exteriors that require a building permit or new construction. The certificate is the board’s written affirmation that a proposed change is sympathetic to the historic character of the property and is consistent with the intent of the ordinance, Third Ward Design Guidelines and Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan.

The board’s seven members are appointed by the mayor and are Third Ward property owners, architects, historians and other experts selected for their interest and skill in design review. The Business Improvement District employs a part-time ARB coordinator to review applications and to coordinate the bimonthly meetings.
Current special events hosted by the ARB coordinator can be found here.

BID #2

Business Improvement District No. 2 provides strategic direction and financing for special projects.


Business Improvement District No. 2 (BID #2) is a state statute-enabled entity created in 1987 and is the oldest operating BID in the city of Milwaukee. Each year, BID #2 is responsible for submitting an operating plan to the Common Council as part of the city’s budget declarations, which includes the budget and goals for the year, as well as the proposed formula for assessing the commercial property inside the district. BIDs are classified as quasi-governmental bodies and, as extensions of municipal government, are subject to Wisconsin’s Open Meetings law. BID #2 has a nine-member board that is appointed by the mayor and is subject to common council approval.


BID #2 is unique because it is one of, if not the only, BID with operating businesses. BID #2 employs more than 60 team members; owns and operates two parking structures and the Milwaukee Public Market; maintains the streetscapes and Riverwalk in the neighborhood; and leases space to more than 20 tenants. In 2023, the total property value in BID #2’s district was around $892 million with 3.5 million square feet of commercial space. Business improvement districts have the power to levy assessments on commercial property in the district to accomplish ongoing objectives. Assessments on these commercial properties provide about 15 percent of the total $3.3 million operating budget. The remainder of the budget is funded by BID #2’s operating businesses.


In the early 1990s, one of the first projects of BID #2 was to fund streetscapes improvements, including our distinctive streetlights, Water Street and St. Paul Avenue arches, the Catalano Square fountain and other public improvements.

BID #2 is the parent organization of the Milwaukee Public Market, which is Milwaukee's most unique downtown food destination. The market is a year-round indoor venue housing independent vendors who offer unique, high-quality selections of artisan ethnic products and freshly made prepared foods.

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The Historic Third Ward Association oversees promotion, marketing and community building activities in the neighborhood. Promotion of the neighborhood is at the core of HTWA’s services which they accomplish through events, robust social media and publications.





Ron San Felippo, Chair

3 Bridges Development


Greg Uhen, Vice Chair

Eppstein Uhen Architects


Kendall Breunig, Treasurer

Sunset Investors

Marianne Burish



Michael DeMichele

DeMichele Co.


Ann Pieper Eisenbrown

Pieper Properties LLC

Michael Gardner

Gardner Group LLC


Robert Joseph

Joseph Property Development


Steve Mech

CSA Partners


Paul Schwartz

Executive Director


Aurora Martinez
Associate Executive Director


Cindy Lesky
Director of Parking & Security

Dave Lesky
Director of Operations

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