County Leaders Encouraged by Ideas to Activate Gateway to Region, Expand Iconic Coliseum and Engage the Community
Madison, WI –In a preliminary report presented Friday on the future of the Alliant Energy Center, a consultant recommends renovating the existing Coliseum building while capitalizing on the larger economic potential for surrounding neighborhoods.
The draft feasibility study from Hunden Strategic Partners also called for adding new hotels, expanding the existing Exposition Hall and creating a “Restaurant Road” with four to six privately run establishments.
The report was unveiled during a meeting of the Alliant Energy Center Master Planning Oversight Committee.
“At first glance, the report offers a very encouraging outline for revitalizing this key County asset,” said Sharon Corrigan, Dane County Board Chair and Chairwoman of the AEC Master Planning Oversight Committee. “The redevelopment could be an economic engine with the potential to create over 600 new jobs in the community.”
Corrigan called the report an important “first step” in making some important decisions on how to proceed in redevelopment of the entire 164-acre campus.
“We’re looking forward to beginning a dynamic community conversation about the exciting and important future of the Alliant Energy Center,” she said.
Hunden’s market study indicated the Alliant Energy Center has an opportunity to lure regional indoor sports, dance and cheer tournaments; attract large conventions that exceed Monona Terrace's capacity; host more concerts and family shows while also expanding on its popular agricultural-oriented events and outdoor festivals.
Some of the elements the preliminary report suggests the AEC Committee should consider include:
Renovation and expansion of the existing Coliseum building to be more competitive and attractive to new business opportunities.
Expansion of the existing Exposition Hall by up to 100,000 square feet in two phases.
Creating more connectivity between AEC buildings to generate additional meeting room space.
Developing environmental enhancements to highlight the unique connection between AEC's economic potential and efforts to protect local lakes and streams.
Addition of one or two new full-service hotel facilities to address increased convention and visitor demands.
Development of a “Restaurant Road” that could introduce 4 to 6 new restaurants to serve visitors but also as a magnet to attract more local business year-round.
“The ideas generated by this Market and Economic Impact Study are insightful and will provide a valuable resource for the community as we work together to develop a Master Plan for the Alliant Energy Center,” said Deb Archer, President & CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau and Madison Area Sports Commission.
Archer called the campus an “incredible economic and cultural asset” for the region that has only begun to tap its full potential as a national and international draw.
“This study offers our community leaders a framework for exploring opportunities for protecting and enhancing the overall value of the entire AEC Campus,” she said.
Corrigan cautioned that the report is only preliminary but said it shows how leveraging public and private partnerships can pay dividends for all stakeholders.
“There’s obviously a lot of work to do but we think this study provides a good basis for moving the dialogue forward,” she said.
The formal Hunden Market Study and Economic Impact Study report, which is expected to go the AEC Master Planning Oversight Committee by the end of the month, will include recommendations on expanded parking opportunities for the facility plus guidance on potential governance models to ensure the long-term economic sustainability of the entire AEC campus.
Following a presentation to the full County Board and community in March, the Master Plan Oversight Committee will guide a civic engagement process to hear the voice of the neighborhood, business and government stakeholders, and the broader community.
By summer, the Master Plan Oversight Committee will make a recommendation to the County’s Public Works and Transportation Committee and the Personnel and Finance Committee regarding next steps. Those two committees will decide whether the county moves forward with the next step – the master plan process.
RFP development for the master plan would occur in the summer months, with a consultant hired for the project by fall.
“This is a story about economic opportunity,” summarized Corrigan. “We are looking to harness the energy and interest generated around the redevelopment of this prime location to maximize visitors and job creation. This is not a short term project; we are talking about capitalizing on a county asset in an inclusive manner – mindful of the needs of the entire community - and improve this asset for generations to come,” she concluded.