A total of 22 restaurants and retail shops will be remodeled or replaced by next year at Wisconsins’s main air hub, significantly enhancing the experience for the more than seven million travelers who choose MKE each year.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced on April 3 that a major refresh was coming to the restaurants and retail shops at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, which is owned and operated by Milwaukee County.
“The plan features an outstanding mix of local brands that reflect the spirit and culture of Milwaukee, as well as established national brands that travelers know and trust,” said County Executive Abele. “Airports continuously update and modernize their retail and dining offerings to stay current with passenger expectations, and Milwaukee County is excited to move forward with this refresh.”
The food and beverage changes planned by restaurant operator HMSHost include for Concourse C and D include Cousin’s Subs (new), Starbucks Coffee (new), and Chili’s Too (remodeled), Great American Bagel Company (New), and Usinger’s (remodeled). The Main Terminal and Concession Mall food court will be converted to a fresh marketplace with grab-and-go options.
“HMSHost is proud to be a part of MKE’s transformation, and we are honored to bring passengers a diverse choice of exceptional restaurants,” said Steve Johnson, HMSHost President & CEO. “We would like to thank Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and Milwaukee County for our continued partnership to enhance the Airport experience and give travelers memorable dining options.”
New Retail concessions will include Summerfest Marketplace, Bay View Exchange, Third Ward Crossing, Girl in the Moon, Brighton, Spanx, No Boundaries, PGA, Scoreboard, and TripAdvisor.
As part of the reconfiguration, the Mitchell Gallery of Flight museum will be moved to where the Milwaukee Marketplace is now located, offering a permanent location for the aviation museum’s collection. The USO Lounge will also move to a pre-security location.
“The new retail spaces in partnership with Paradies Lagardère represent a capital investment of nearly $7 million in our airport. And we’re doing all of this with no property tax dollars from Milwaukee County,” Abele added. MKE’s new agreement with Paradies includes 30% participation from local Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, which exceeds the County’s goal of 25%. This partnership highlights Milwaukee County’s commitment to racial equity by supporting local businesses owned by women and people of color.”
The RFP for the retail improvements was issued last year. All replacements and renovations are expected to be completed in time for the DNC Convention in 2020.
“While these renovations and replacements won’t change the footprint or layout of the Airport, they will enhance the look of the Airport and appeal to today’s travelers,” Airport Director Brian Dranzik said. “The changes will also increase revenue for the Airport, which can help us bring more air service to MKE.”
MKE currently offers nonstop flights to 40+ destinations coast-to-coast, and 160 international destinations are available from Milwaukee with just one connection. MKE is served by Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United, and Volaris.
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The Airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the Airport’s capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation.