Annie Mattea

Skywalk Between Hyatt Regency and Wisconsin Center Demolished

A new skywalk will be constructed in its place.

By - Nov 18th, 2021 04:27 pm
Demolition of the Wisconsin Center skywalk over N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. Photo by Annie Mattea.

Demolition of the Wisconsin Center skywalk over N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. Photo by Annie Mattea.

The skywalk between the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee Hotel and the Wisconsin Center was demolished Tuesday as work continues to progress on the $420 million convention center expansion.

Demolition of the skywalk began at 9 a.m. and continued throughout the day. 

A new skywalk will be constructed, connecting the Hyatt to the Wisconsin Center. The elevation and point of entry will be different than the old skywalk and will also be brighter and more accommodating, said Catherine McCoy, a communications associate for Kane Communications.

The Wisconsin Center expansion will add 112,000 square feet of exhibition space to the convention center, creating a 300,000-square-foot-hall. It will feature a new 2,000-person ballroom and 24 meeting rooms. It will also feature outdoor decks, an indoor waterfall and revamped common spaces.

The expansion will allow one event to be set up while another takes place, a structure that project boosters believe would greatly increase the utilization of the entire facility.

“Right now we might be dark for 12 days for an event that is here for only two,” said WCD CEO Marty Brooks of the setup-teardown logistics at the expansion’s Oct. 28 groundbreaking.

The expanded facility will fill two city blocks, running from W. Wisconsin Ave. to W. Kilbourn Ave., and from N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. to N. 6th St.

It is expected to open during the first quarter of 2024.

The project is funded by district revenue, including a series of taxes in addition to rental fees. The district debt is backed by a 3% county-wide hotel room tax, 0.5% food and beverage sales tax and a 3% rental car tax. The debt is expected to be repaid over 40 years.

As part of approving the expansion in April 2020, the district raised the countywide hotel tax by a half percent (to 3%) to expand its debt reserve fund. The Common Council negotiated a revenue-sharing agreement with the district as part of the expansion.

As part of the project, WCD committed to a contracting and hiring program similar to one imposed by the City of Milwaukee on projects receiving city financial assistance. At least 25% of the work is to be committed to minority-owned businesses, 5% to woman-owned businesses and 1% to veteran-owned businesses. At least 40% of project work hours will be performed by city residents or certified through the city’s Residents Preference Program for unemployed or underemployed city workers. The work hours goal is a looser definition than the city’s 40% RPP requirement, which was required for Fiserv Forum’s construction.

General contracting for the project is being led by a partnership of Gilbane Building Company and CD Smith. Design is being led by a partnership of tvsdesign and Eppstein Uhen Architects.

The Wisconsin Center, originally known as the Midwest Express Center, first opened in 1998. 



Groundbreaking Ceremony

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