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Wisconsin Center size costing Milwaukee money, study shows

A study by the Crossroads Consulting firm shows Milwaukee is looking up at other city's convention centers.

"That's what the study pointed out exactly," Wisconsin Center District consultant John Yingling said. "That we're smaller. The expansion would put us in a very good position. But right now we are small, and we think that's costing us some business."

The study shows in terms of exhibit space, Milwaukee is behind peer cities like Kansas City, Columbus, Minneapolis and Indianapolis. 

Former Wisconsin Center District Chairman Frank Gimbel says these studies are nothing new.

"This study is probably the sixth over the past 20 plus years of whether or not expansion would be something that would enhance Milwaukee as a destination for meeting planners," Gimbel said.

He says they've all pointed out that the city could gain money by doing so.

"The original concept of the Wisconsin Center District really envisioned a three part expansion program. Part one and two are completed. Part three is not."

The issue is the expansion would cost about $200 million, and the district would need to find a way to pay for it.

"It's the cost, and whether or not that makes sense," Yingling said. "That's the next phase is to look at the profile, look at how much money it would take to do the expansion, and how fast can you recoup it."


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