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CRE Guide: Take 5 - Gary Grunau

Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 6:00am CST
Sean Ryan
Reporter - The Business Journal
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Gary Grunau is vocal about the benefits of downtown Milwaukee, but also serves as a voice calling for the area’s constant improvement.

Grunau, president of Milwaukee-based Grucon Group with a long history of development in downtown Milwaukee, currently is working on the renovation of the Schlitz Park office property on the north shore of the Milwaukee River. He also is consulting Rainier Properties II LLC on its planned mixed-use project in the Park East, which is to include a Marcus Corp. movie theater.

He is encouraging Milwaukee to appeal to a younger work force that will attract companies and, last year, emerged as an advocate for high-speed rail before the state canceled the Milwaukee-to-Madison project.

Grunau shares his thoughts with The Business Journal on how education, culture and transit will affect the future of Milwaukee development.

Q: Do you think the business community has become more or less engaged over the past year in the discussions about promoting economic development in Milwaukee?

A: “I think the whole discussion of the need to create jobs and find good talent has caused the business community to become more engaged. There is a growing awareness, with our third-class transportation system, that companies located in the city will have a better chance in employee recruitment. Also, companies are becoming more aware that they need to be ‘where the action is’ to recruit bright, young, diverse people. This is part of a national trend that shows more and more companies moving to the urban center of cities. The net result of this circumstance is that more companies are looking at Milwaukee rather than suburban locations. The move of the ManpowerGroup world headquarters to downtown started that trend in Milwaukee and hopefully a Kohl’s decision to do the same would continue it.”

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

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