Completed Projects

Project Discovery World

500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Discovery World

Project Description

The project is the refinance of the operating educational non-profit business venture known as Discovery World. Discovery World Ltd. was created through a merger of Discovery World and Pier Wisconsin in 2004. A function of the merger was the creation of state-of the art science educational facilities with an emphasis on marine based science along the Pier in Milwaukee. The newly constructed facility brings together a comprehensive line of programs in physics, engineering, general science and chemistry along with interactive learning opportunities such as public education programs, “hands-on” exhibits, and curriculum based labs and workshops, interactive digital theaters and a live performance theater.

The primary geographic market for the educational center is the Greater Milwaukee area, though large groups are often booked from outside this general pool. In the Greater Milwaukee area, an area of roughly 25 miles there are roughly 1.6 million people who have the potential to be served by this program. Specifically, the educational center has seen a long tradition of providing education directly to disadvantaged students throughout the Milwaukee area; roughly 20,200 students per year are estimated to come from low-income communities. Discovery World also supports the Discoverer’ Fund. This fund provides scholarships to disadvantaged youths to send them to week long summer educational camps.

The project encompasses the refinance of the educational business, including the new museum and its exhibits as well as funding for current exhibit projects. Total project costs are roughly $19.75MM.

It is anticipated that the project would receive roughly $3.4MM in convertible debt at the end of the financing period reducing the end capital burden to $13.05. These funds are in addition to the funds expended in principal on the first mortgage debt. 

CDE Alignment

The project is located in a high distress Brownfield census tract meeting two mission requirements for the CDE. In addition the project also includes a high level of LEED and energy efficient characteristics which also a specific goal for funding in the CDE’s mission profile. The project will nearly double its current staff and add part time positions as a part of the funding proposed. This project serves a high level of low-income children through both its daily programming (approximately 20,000 per annum and its summer scholarship program (1,370 annually). Based on its distress, LEED, job and service characteristics, this project meets the CDE’s stated mission goals and objectives. 

Total Project Costs $1,975,000

FIRE NMTC Allocation $9,000,000

NMTC Investor US Bank CDC

Closing Date December 2008

Distress Criteria
  • Brownfield
  • Renewal Community
  • North Harbor Tract Redevelopment Community

Community Impacts
  • 35 retained permanent jobs at an average annual anticipated wage rate of $31,000 per year; 30 additional permanent jobs and 60 part time positions
  • The property has a number of LEED and energy efficient based characteristics
  • Over 20,000 children of low-income families receive educational programming each year through the facility
  • In 2007 there were 1,371 participants in the Discoverer’s summer scholarships for disadvantaged youth program; with 2,358 individual participants to date since inception. 

FIRE welcomes requests for NMTC’s throughout the year as we work to maintain an active pipeline of viable and potential projects throughout the region. 

Apply Today »