Convention center in Brookfield? Market study lays out logistics
Whether community wants to support it is up in air
To meet the demand for a location in Brookfield where state and local association meetings can be held, a facilities consultant on Monday proposed a multipurpose convention center that would cost between $27 million and $38 million to build.
The Economic Development Committee and Brookfield Convention and Visitors Authority met in joint session Monday to hear a presentation on the market analysis used to determine if building a convention center in Brookfield would be worthwhile.
BCVA hired HVS Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Consulting to conduct a study for $15,000, said Tim Casey, economic development coordinator for the city.
Through phone interviews with local parties and event planner surveys, HVS determined that there is a demand for a conference center in Brookfield because the city is seen as a central location that is less expensive than Milwaukee. Tom Hazinski, managing director for HVS, said through his research the optimal location would be near Brookfield Square mall.
The mall was a favored site due to its proximity to hotels, as well as shops and restaurants.
The proposed 30,000-square-foot multipurpose center would be mainly geared toward state and local association meetings that hotels in Brookfield currently cannot accommodate. The building also would serve banquet and exhibit needs. The proposed building includes a junior ballroom and could host banquets, trade shows, consumer shows, entertainment shows and other large events.
"It's hard and expensive to execute, but you want to do something that has a sense of place that people really want to go to," Hazinski said.
The proposed center features flexible partitioning that would allow the exhibit hall to support about 150 10-foot-square exhibit booths, banquets with 2,500 people and assemblies of up to 3,300 people.
"You really want to get a good fix on whether this would be accepted in the marketplace," Hazinski said. "It's a tough question to ask because there's nothing like it, so we're really forced to look at survey information, how comparable venues are doing and what they attract."
He said building the proposed conference center would require the city to issue long-term bonds. HVS estimated that if the facility is completed in 2015, event demand and attendance would stabilize by fiscal year 2018.
"Money isn't just going to fall out of there, and is there a public-sector willingness to support this kind of project?" Hazinski asked.
Garnering private investment from surrounding hotels and retail development also is a possible funding source.
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