Wisconsin Center $420 Million Expansion Construction Project
Wisconsin Center District Celebrates Groundbreaking

Wisconsin Center District Breaks Ground on $420 Million Convention Center Expansion


The groundbreaking event commemorates the next phase of the Wisconsin Center expansion project.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – (Oct. 28, 2021) – The Wisconsin Center District (WCD) leadership and board members, elected officials and community leaders broke ground for the Wisconsin Center expansion Thursday morning. The $420 million project will take up one square city block on Kilbourn Avenue, between Vel R. Phillips Avenue and Sixth Street, and include 650,000 square feet of space, bringing the total Wisconsin Center footprint to over 1.3 million square feet.

The Wisconsin Center expansion project will include 300,000 contiguous square feet of exhibit hall space, a rooftop ballroom and outdoor terraces, indoor parking, 24 additional flexible meeting rooms for a total of 52, and a retrofit of the current convention center. The facility is anticipated to open in the first quarter of 2024. 

The Wisconsin Center Expansion project groundbreaking ceremony first shovelsPictured from left to right: City of Milwaukee Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump, Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin, Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan, WCD President and CEO Marty Brooks, WCD Board Chair Jim Kanter, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, WCD Board Member and Milwaukee Fourth District Alderman Bob Bauman, VISIT Milwaukee Board Chair and Milwaukee Urban League President and CEO Dr. Eve M. Hall, VISIT Milwaukee President and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith.

“Today’s groundbreaking is the formal celebration of our highly-anticipated $420 million expansion that has been years in the making,” said Marty Brooks, president and CEO of the WCD. “Doubling the size of the convention center allows us to execute multiple, simultaneous events bringing more visitors to Milwaukee to attend conferences and patronize local businesses. Meeting planners can expect flexible meeting space, robust IT infrastructure, and top-of-the-line health and safety features, along with our signature Bold, Proud, Experience Obsessed service delivery approach.”

After opening, the WCD anticipates an additional 100,000 out-of-state visitors annually, and the expansion is projected to generate $12.6 billion in total spending over 30 years.

The event began with remarks from Marty Brooks, who spoke to the project's impact on economic prosperity in Milwaukee and creating a source of pride for residents. Additional speakers included WCD Board Chair Jim Kanter; VISIT Milwaukee President and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith; VISIT Milwaukee Board Chair Dr. Eve M. Hall; Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin; WCD Board Member and Milwaukee Fourth District Alderman Bob Bauman; City of Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development Lafayette Crump; Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley; and Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration Joel Brennan.

The Wisconsin Center Expansion project groundbreaking ceremony first shovels

Each speaker shared messages with common themes about the project’s economic impact and how the new, state-of-the-art facility will attract more people to visit and explore Milwaukee. The expansion project includes a 31 percent disadvantaged business enterprise commitment with at least 25 percent minority-owned businesses, five percent women-owned businesses, and one percent disabled veteran-owned businesses. Plus, a residents preferred program of 40 percent, meaning at least $40 million of the $100 million in anticipated construction wages will be earned by residents of the City of Milwaukee. Upon opening, the expanded Wisconsin Center is projected to support 2,300 full time equivalent jobs throughout the state of Wisconsin.

“This is a monumental day, and we’re here in large part because of the vision, tenacity and ingenuity of the WCD Board of Directors. In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, the WCD Board demonstrated faith and confidence in the leaders behind this project and voted yes to enhance Milwaukee’s future as a meetings and conventions destination,” said Jim Kanter, WCD Board Chair. “The shovel-ready project will be a source of pride for the city for years to come.”

The Wisconsin Center expansion is a cutting-edge project setting new industry standards. Its dynamic design elements are unique in the convention industry, its environmental requirements meet stringent standards and its contractors’ qualifications are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion practices that will benefit the local economy.

“This event marks the beginning of the Wisconsin Center’s thrilling next chapter and it will elevate Milwaukee in the ranks against our peer cities,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “An expanded convention center means more business, more visitors and more national exposure for Milwaukee and translates into billions of dollars in additional tourism spending in our community.”

Expansion partners include the project owner’s representative, CAA ICON, design partners Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) and Atlanta-based tvsdesign, construction management partners Gilbane Building Company and C.D. Smith Construction, who have formed a joint venture as Gilbane | Smith Wisconsin Center Expansion (Gilbane | Smith), disadvantaged business enterprise partners Cross Management Services, Inc. and Prism Technical Management & Marketing Services, LLC. and naming-rights partner Legends.

To stay up to date on progress and learn more about the Wisconsin Center expansion, visit buildingmore.com.

### 

Wisconsin Center
The Wisconsin Center, located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, is the hub of convention business in Wisconsin and is ideal for trade and consumer shows, conventions, banquets, business meetings, and celebrations. Currently, the Wisconsin Center offers 188,695 square feet of contiguous exposition space and 37,500 square feet of ballroom space, accommodating up to 1,000 vendors and 10,000 guests. More intimate spaces are also available for groups as small as ten. 

In 2021, the Wisconsin Center began a $420 million expansion, which will bring the exposition hall to 300,000 contiguous square feet; add 24 new meeting rooms, include no fewer than 400 indoor parking spaces, add six loading docks, an additional kitchen, and feature a spectacular fourth-floor rooftop ballroom with outdoor terraces and space for a minimum of 2,000 for a seated dinner. This will allow the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) to host multiple events simultaneously and offer flexible space arrangements to meet various clients’ needs. The expansion is expected to be completed and open for business in Q1 2024. For more information and to book an event, visit wisconsincenter.com.

Wisconsin Center District
Experience-obsessed and committed to creating unforgettable moments, the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) is a quasi-governmental body that operates the Wisconsin Center, which in 2021 will begin undergoing a $420 million expansion to double its size; UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena; and Miller High Life Theatre in downtown Milwaukee. The WCD venues are within walking distance of leading hotels, retail establishments, attractions, dining, nightclubs and transportation. Created under Wisconsin State Statute in 1994, the WCD offers captivating- and buzzworthy-experiences, making Milwaukee a not-to-be-missed destination.

About CAA ICON
A division of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), CAA ICON is the world’s leading owner’s representative and strategic management consulting firm for public and private sports and entertainment facility owners/operators, professional franchises, and leagues. With more than 50 sports, entertainment, and public assembly projects and over 1,500 consulting engagements, CAA ICON has managed the development of many of the most successful venues around the world, spanning 11 professional sports leagues, totaling nearly $20 billion. CAA ICON offers world-class service in the areas of project management, strategic advisory, feasibility and planning, and beyond.

About Gilbane | Smith Wisconsin Center Expansion (Gilbane | Smith)

About Gilbane Building Company
Gilbane is a global integrated construction and facility management services firm with strong roots in Southeast Wisconsin over the past 40+ years. Gilbane’s downtown Milwaukee office has been steadily growing in recent years. Recognized as the #1 Milwaukee-area contractor by Milwaukee Business Journal (2020), Gilbane has assembled an impressive portfolio of work, while staying true to our commitment of community partnerships, building capacity and safety excellence. Our extensive experience translates into a builder you can trust with valuable lessons learned and best practices on a variety building types including corporate, high-rise developments, industrial, food and beverage, education, hospitality and municipal, to name a few. Visit www.gilbaneco.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About C.D. Smith Construction
C.D. Smith Construction is an industry leader in safely providing the highest quality commercial construction services. Utilizing an integrated approach and self-performing trade services combined with technical expertise, our team serves as a solutions provider throughout all phases of a project from planning through construction. With veteran leadership, and a dedication to our employees and clients, we proudly place our name on projects of all sizes across the United States. Visit www.cdsmith.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.


 

Follow C.D. Smith ON SOCIAL

#CDSmith #ThinkSafeWorkSafe

C.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on FacebookC.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on LinkedInC.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on InstagramWebsite - Twitter - Icon-01C.D. Smith YouTube Videos Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Skilled Trades

Contact Us Get in Touch

 

Wisconsin Center Project | Media News

Ground Breaking Ceremony, October 28, 2021 | Milwaukee's Best Venues 11.07.2021


Wisconsin Center District breaks ground on $420 million convention center expansion | REJournals 11.01.2021

Wisconsin Center gets new look | WISN 12 News 10.31.2021

Wisconsin Center expansion groundbreaking ceremony | FOX6 News Milwaukee 10.28.2021

Wisconsin Center expansion groundbreaking: $420M project underway | FOX6 News 10.28.2021

Wisconsin Center District breaks ground on convention center expansion | CBS 58 on Facebook LIVE 10.28.2021

Wisconsin Center District begins multi-million dollar expansion on convention center | CBS58 Newsroom 10.28.2021

Wisconsin Center Expansion hopes to attract more, larger events | WISN 12 News 10.28.2021

Ground broken on $420M Wisconsin Center expansion | WISN 10.28.2021

Hundreds attend ceremony for $420M Wisconsin Center project: Slideshow | Milwaukee Business Journal 10.28.2021

Wisconsin Center District celebrates construction start for convention center expansion | BizTimes Milwaukee Business News 10.28.2021

Groundbreaking held for $420 million Wisconsin Center expansion | Waukesha Freeman gmtoday.com 10.28.2021

WCD Celebrates Start of Convention Center Expansion | Urban Milwaukee 10.28.2021

Groundbreaking marks new chapter for Milwaukee's Wisconsin Center District | TMJ4 10.28.2021

Groundbreaking marks a new chapter for Milwaukee's Wisconsin Central District | 6PARK.NEWS/WISCONSIN 10.28.2021

Work starts on $420M Wisconsin Center District expansion | The Daily Reporter 10.28.2021

Demolition set for July-August to clear Wisconsin Center Expansion site | Milwaukee Business Journal 07.01.2021

Wisconsin Center Expansion Bid Release 1 Matchmaking Session | Gilbane|Smith Wisconsin Center Expansion Project 5.27.2021

Another interior view of the $420 million convention center released | OnMilwaukee 05.21.2021

Press Release | Wisconsin Center Begins Subcontractor Bidding Process for $420 Million Expansion Construction | buildingmore.com 04.16.2021

To stay up to date on the bidding timeline and for more information, visit buildingmore.com.


Follow C.D. Smith ON SOCIAL

#CDSmith #ThinkSafeWorkSafe

C.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on FacebookC.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on LinkedInC.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on InstagramWebsite - Twitter - Icon-01C.D. Smith YouTube Videos Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Skilled Trades

Contact Us Get in Touch

Media Contact

Sarah Maio
414.908.6056
smaio@wcd.org

Follow C.D. Smith
ON SOCIAL

#CDSmith #ThinkSafeWorkSafe

C.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on FacebookC.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on LinkedInC.D. Smith Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Construction Trades on InstagramC.D. Smith YouTube Videos Construction Management Design-Build General Contractor Preconstruction Commercial Skilled Trades

Contact Us Get in Touch

 

 

FAQ

About C.D. Smith

C.D. Smith Construction is an industry leader in safely providing the highest quality commercial construction services. Utilizing an integrated approach and self-performing trade services combined with technical expertise, our team serves as a solutions provider throughout all phases of a project from planning through construction. With veteran leadership, and a dedication to our employees and clients, we proudly place our name on projects of all sizes across the United States. Visit www.cdsmith.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

Our History
Go to OUR HISTORY page for the inspiring story and illustrated timeline of how C.D. Smith Construction grew to the full-service construction management firm we are today. It all began with one man and a determined spirit...
Contact Us | Locations
Project Experience

We're dedicated to safely delivering superior spaces where people work, play, create, heal and serve. Explore a history of project experience exemplary of our construction expertise in YOUR INDUSTRY by clicking on a category of markets we serve.

Our Sustainability

Our corporate headquarters represents how we've set the next-generation standard for high-performance building design, construction and operations. Discover more by going to our website's OUR SUSTAINABILITY page or scrolling down to see how we're living green with LEED gold.

We're proud of the sustainable design and construction that went into our new headquarters. Key sustainable features include:

Powered by Solar

Atop of our new headquarters sits a 94kW ballasted solar photovoltaic system. The system features five SolarEdge Technologies Inc. inverters and (294) REC Group 320w modules. It is projected to offset an estimated up to 39.1% of our electric energy consumption. That’s saving over 93 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year!

Daylight Harvesting

Floor to ceiling, energy-efficient windows throughout the C.D. Smtih headquarters optimize daylight to reduce energy consumption by offsetting the amount of electricity lightly needed to properly light spaces in the building. 

Automated Building Controls

Tracking and metering systems allow for decreased operating costs, enhanced system performance, energy savings, increased comfort and increased building infrastructure control. 

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Reusable cups are located in cafes. Recycling Stations are located throughout the building, along with bottle filling stations. Office employees are making a valiant effort to go paperless.

Prairie in Progress

As a part of our green initiatives, C.D. Smith is practicing sustainable landscaping. Native planting takes two to three years to develop and requires maintenance for the plants to successfully establish. Maintenance may include mowing, weed management, and prescribed burning. The land surrounding the building will look different throughout the season and every year.

 

Milwaukee Experience
Trade Partners & Bids

Construction-related companies in southeastern Wisconsin that want to learn more about becoming a vendor, subcontractor, supplier or professional services provider for the WISCONSIN CENTER expansion are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming information sessions and register to receive updates at buildingmore.com.


If you are interested in working with C.D. Smith or would like to request adding your company to our bidder’s database (for projects other than Wisconsin Center Expansion), please complete our Trade Partners & Bids Form, Click here.



Self-Performing

Our self-perform capabilities are a direct result of our talented team members' skilled trade career paths in the communities in which they live and work.

Learn more about C.D. Smith Construction's self-performing capabilities from our WEB PAGE:

 


 

Press Release

Wisconsin Center Begins Subcontractor Bidding Process for $420 Million Expansion Construction 

 

Information Can Be Found at BuildingMore.com

Wisconsin Center Expansion project original press release

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – (April 16, 2021) – The Wisconsin Center District (WCD), along with its owner’s representative, CAA ICON, and construction firm partners Gilbane Building Company and C.D. Smith Construction, who have formed a joint venture as Gilbane | Smith Wisconsin Center Expansion (Gilbane | Smith), are opening the subcontractor bidding process for its highly-anticipated $420 million convention center expansion. Construction-related companies in southeastern Wisconsin that want to learn more about becoming a vendor, subcontractor, supplier or professional services provider for the expansion are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming information sessions and register to receive updates at buildingmore.com.

Click Here to Go to Full Press Release.


 

BENEATH THE HARD HAT®, our company press and blog, offers an intimate look at the people and stories that make C.D. Smith WHO WE ARE. With the latest industry news and C.D. Smith Construction project updates, we share insights on the superior spaces we're safely delivering year-round. Planning your next project? Our team of technical experts offers useful tips and topics to help any organization planning its next construction project.

Subscribe to Beneath the Hard Hat For news, insights and updates from our blog

 


Get in Touch

Corporate Headquarters
125 Camelot Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Milwaukee Office
241 North Broadway
Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Madison Office
316 West Washington Avenue
Suite 900 
Madison, WI 53703

La Crosse Office
333 Front Street North
Suite 701 
La Crosse, WI 54601

Ready to build community and get connected with commercial construction expertise? Use the below form to submit questions or request information. We look forward to learning more and discovering how we can make YOUR PROJECT. OUR PRIORITY.®.