Wisconsin Center Skywalk Design Okayed
New skywalk would accommodate expanded convention center. And future streetcar line.
Skywalks are a relatively new concept in Milwaukee. The city’s network, largely centered on Westown, was first constructed in the 1980s. But one span will soon be on its third iteration.
The first span connecting the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee Hotel, 333 W. Kilbourn Ave., with the convention center to the west opened in the early 1980s.
In November it was demolished, because the convention center’s footprint will be changing as part of a $420 million expansion that will create a new front door on W. Kilbourn Ave.
The city’s infrequently-needed Skywalk Design Committee met Monday to review the proposed replacement that will connect the hotel and convention center.
The expansion’s design team presented the new vision, which eliminates the turn in favor of a downhill slope directly into the convention center’s new second floor.
The Wisconsin Center District project team brought math to back that up. The original segment’s facade was 37% glass windows, while the new segment will have 54% window coverage.
It’s also planned to accommodate future changes to the underlying street.
The new bridge’s eastern terminus will connect with the remaining original span near the sidewalk on the east side of N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. by using an existing pair of support columns. But by not replacing the earlier span in its entirety, a bizarre configuration will be created where both segments slope uphill to the support columns.
Eppstein Uhen CEO Rich Tennessen said the project team had achieved its three goals: accommodate the streetcar and emergency vehicles, provide improved aesthetics and better accommodate patrons.
After a series of city-requested revisions to the design and its accessibility in recent weeks, city officials appear to agree. No one spoke against the plan.
Alderman Robert Bauman did ask if the inclusion of an easement over W. Kilbourn Ave. on a lease document indicated that a former MECCA skywalk to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and Miller High Life Theatre complex would be restored.
“There is no plan for that,” said Abrams, who noted it was a carryover. It appears on a land title survey.
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 add 24 meeting rooms. The design includes multiple 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.
Convention Center Renderings
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Wisconsin Center Skywalk Design Okayed - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 20th, 2021
- Skywalk Between Hyatt Regency and Wisconsin Center Demolished - Annie Mattea - Nov 18th, 2021
- Eyes on Milwaukee: WCD Celebrates Start of Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 28th, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: Construction Ramping Up on Wisconsin Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 15th, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: See Inside Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - May 23rd, 2021
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Who Wants To Name the Wisconsin Center? - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 1st, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: Riverwest Hostel Becoming Cooperative Housing Facility - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 13th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Wisconsin Center Gives Final Approval for $420 Million Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 9th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Approves Wisconsin Center Deal - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 15th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Convention Center District Authorizes $420 Million Expansion, Raises Hotel Tax - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 2nd, 2020
Read more about Wisconsin Center expansion here