Historic King Drive: BID 8

What We Do 

Since its inception in 1992, the mission of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District (BID8) has been to improve the district by fostering a culture that enjoys a trendy and authentic retail experience while attracting businesses who embrace the commitment to hard work and strong character that the area was founded on. And so far, expectations have been exceeded! In the past 15 years there has been over $400 million of new development in the BID. This type of success can only be achieved in a collaborative effort by people who believe in King Drive and each other. BID members, our partners, and the Harambee residential community are working together to cultivate a thriving community like no other in Milwaukee.



The King Drive BID neighborhood has a long, rich history beginning in the mid-1800s when German settlers migrated to Milwaukee and established a neighborhood by building homes, churches and schools. The area quickly became a self-sustaining economic zone as retail businesses opened up shop on Downtown 3rd Street, now known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The community continued to grow. By the early 1900s, the northeastern section of the community became a large-scale industrial district, much of which still exists today. The neighborhood’s close proximity to the city and easy access to the Milwaukee Road rail line and the Milwaukee River system, encouraged block after block to be developed by manufacturers of shoes, beer, pianos, wooden toys and more. The largest of the factory was an auto body plant built in the 1920s that later became an American Motors manufacturing facility. In the 1920s, new ethnic groups moved into the neighborhood and among them were the first African-American families. These new African-American families followed the community-building pattern of their German predecessors, establishing new churches, establishing new businesses, and creating a diverse neighborhood with a distinct cultural flavor. Today the neighborhood is experiencing an unprecedented growth in commercial and housing development. The quality of life has never been better and continues to grow every day.


    Areas of focus

    The mission of the Historic King Drive BID is to improve and revitalize the district and bring investment and new businesses to the area. We provide services, information and resources to prospective and existing investors, sponsors, property owners and business owners. These specialty incentives include:



    Maintain the cleanliness of sidewalks and public areas. Visual appeal through planters, lighting, banners and way-finding signs. 


    Events and Marketing

    Plan and emplement engaging events that promote positive happenings within the district.


    Tenant recruitment

    Respond to available lease and purchase opportunities. Activley promote the historic mix and significance of the district to interested businesses and property owners. 


    Grants and Funding

    Administer BID 8 grants and funding from partners.


    Development assistance

    Support real estate projects through planning, advocacy and partnerships.


    General research and information requests

     Provide insights from research resources

    BID 8 2020 Operating Plan

    Objectives and proposed activites. Click here to read.

    Area Map

    businesses open 2018

    Assisted in loans

    Contact Us

    Historic King Drive BID #8

    1726 N Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
    Milwaukee, WI 53212

    (414) 265-5809