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J.P. Cullen low bidder on $17.9M Brookfield Square conference center

J.P. Cullen & Sons is the low bidder on a project to build a new conference center at a Brookfield shopping center now undergoing a transformation.

J.P. Cullen’s $17.9 million bid for the project beat out two other firms who were competing for the same contract to replace a closed Sears Auto Center with a conference center. The Sears is one of three tenants to leave the Brookfield Square mall in recent months. Plans also call for the construction of a connected hotel. The $32 million project has been regularly cited as an example of how developers can find new uses for shopping centers amid competition from online retailers.

Although J.P. Cullen is the low bidder, it won’t officially get the contract until its offer is approved by the Brookfield Common Council. The council is scheduled to vote on the project on Tuesday

The two other companies that bid were: J.H. Findorff & Son, which offered to do the work for $18.2 million, and Miron Construction, which bid $18.8 million. The city plans to pay for the conference center using about $24 million worth of tax-increment financing and hotel-room taxes.

Plans call for the proposed 57,000-square-foot conference center to have a kitchen, offices and a 16,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into smaller spaces. A glass walkway would connect the building with a 168-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel, managed by the Middleton developer North Central Group. Officials expect to complete the hotel and conference center by early 2020.

Besides the hotel and conference center, developers plan to replace the former Sears space with a Marcus Theatres BistroPlex and a WhirlyBall restaurant and entertainment center, on which work got underway recently.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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