Downtown Milwaukee hotels planning updates, renovations ahead of Republican National Convention

The Pfister Hotel and Aloft Downtown are both knee-deep in the improvement process
The Pfister Hotel improvements.jpeg
Posted at 11:09 AM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 12:09:17-05

MILWAUKEE — Getting nearly 14,000 rooms ready for guests to fill ahead of next July’s Republican National Convention is no easy task.

“All of us hotels are working together. We're not against each other. I feel like it's bringing our community together,” said Briana Greer.

As chef concierge of The Pfister Hotel, Briana Greer says their staff is focused on taking care of their guests, while also moving forward with necessary renovations.

“We were prepared to do so for the last year. But again, the RNC is really something that kind of put a fire under us to get ready for them,” said Greer.

Greer says the hotel is right in the middle of its three-phase renovation project, with the second stage of upgrading its historic guest rooms set to begin before the end of the year.

“As we continue on, you know, there's always timelines, but I think they've done a great job to keep forward and to keep on that,” said Greer.

Not too far down the road sits Aloft Downtown, which is just steps from the heart of the RNC, Fiserv Forum.

General Manager Jon Bjerning says their team just kicked off its renovation plans this week, with the transformation expected to be finished just after the new year.

“We're really kind of bringing it forward and really excited for the timing of it, when we have the world looking at us, we've got a shiny new coin to show off,” said Bjerning.

Those changes include relocating the front desk, building a new space for it, and upgrading the lobby.

Bjerning says while the next few weeks will be busy, the goal is to keep things flowing as smoothly as possible.

While places like The Pfister and Aloft are remodeling and making improvements ahead of next year’s convention, other places like Cambria and The Iron Horse are doing the opposite.

Both hotels have dealt with recent money troubles, with the Milwaukee Business Journal reporting the Cambria is facing foreclosure less than four years after it opened its doors.

The Iron Horse also dealt with foreclosure last summer, but just this week, its creator reached a deal to keep ownership.

Bjerning says while the last few years were tough for many places, the hotel community is resilient and will be able to welcome anyone who comes to town.

“Unfortunately, some of those properties around us just weren't able to hang on. I have confidence that they will come back, that somebody will find a way to make it work,” said Bjerning.