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New Deer District hotel aims to bring tourists to Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE – A new hotel being built in the Deer District aims to be a big draw for the city of Milwaukee.

Peggy Williams-Smith saw an orange beam soar to the top of the Trade Hotel during Wednesday’s awards ceremony.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the development of hospitality in this city with COVID, so it was really exciting to see,” said Williams-Smith, president and CEO of Visit Milwaukee.

Williams-Smith joined several others on a tour of the future hotel, which houses more than 200 rooms. The Trade Hotel is expected to open in early 2023.

The hotel is focused on showcasing Milwaukee, which Williams-Smith says will go a long way.

The Trade Hotel gives pride of place to local products in its guest rooms, in an attempt to tell the story of the city.

“I don’t think they’ve taken a leap into what this hotel is going to be in this market,” Williams-Smith said.

She said hotel guests will have access to explore the heart of the “beautiful” city.

The Trade Hotel is part of a list of new developments that have come to the Deer District in recent years.

Peter Feigin, president of the Milwaukee Bucks, said the hotel is just another part of redefining downtown.

“I mean, whether we invite NBA teams, MLB teams or tourists or business travelers, that’s what we have to continue to do in the city of Milwaukee to really create a destination,” Feign said. “The Trade has helped us pursue our goal of creating the destination where we can live, work and play in downtown Milwaukee.”

Williams-Smith said she thinks the hotel could also play an important role in attracting more conventions to the city.

“I think if the last two and a half years have taught us [anything], with COVID, is that hospitality is extremely important to the success of the city,” she said. “What I like to say [about] tourism is that sometimes it’s the first time someone sees our city – which could lead them to fall in love with our city and then move to our city.