MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Local officials hope that a plan to redevelop an events center in Madison will help the campus better accommodate events and remain a strong competitor with rival venues.
The architecture firm Perkins+Will recently released its final master plan for the 164-acre Alliant Energy Center, The Capital Times reported. The plan, whose first phase is estimated to cost $300 million, calls for expanding an existing exhibition hall as well as building a hotel and parking, residential, retail and office space. The needed money would come both from public and private sources.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” said Dane County Board Chairwoman Sharon Corrigan. “We’re going to lose events to other places. Not only in Wisconsin but around the country, we’re seeing investments into these kinds of facilities, and people will bypass Madison if we don’t take the time and energy to invest into the campus.”
The firm recommends building a $2.7 million gateway plaza that has pedestrian accommodations such as landscaping, lighting, seating and decorative pavements. The first phase calls for putting in a road to better connect the campus to nearby places.
The current campus seems a bit isolated, said Deb Archer, president and CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau. She said it could be difficult to find a way to “make the campus breathe into the community and breathe back so that there is a sense of connection.”
The master plan also recommends removing the arena that now stands at the site and building a replacement for an estimated $7.2 million.
Corrigan plans to introduce a resolution to the Dane County Board. She said the next step will be secure the needed money, and she hopes work on the exhibition hall can begin in the next five years.