Vacancy Rates in Downtown Waukesha Draw Concern

In downtown Waukesha, 'For Sale' and 'For Lease' signs dot every 5th window.

The once bustling downtown is seeing historical vacancy rates, an issue community leaders are taking note of.

According to the study, 20 percent (35 of 174) of downtown storefronts are currently vacant.

      "Having a high vacancy rate gives a false impression that businesses aren't succeeding down here," says Alderman Erik Helgestad. "Everyone has a role to play in making sure our downtown is vibrant and successful."

The community is placing the final touches on a study, spearheaded by the Waukesha County UW-Extension. The 8-member team is hoping to produce data-driven results for how to improve downtown.

     "The data in today's world is critical for businesses to help them make decisions," says UW-Extension Department Head Jerry Braatz.

The study will be made available to potential businesses considering Waukesha. 

       "We've got opportunities for businesses. We have available space for these small businesses to move in and be successful." 

That study is expected to be finalized by the end of February. 

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