Marcus to close waterpark at downtown Hilton

Milwaukee-based The Marcus Corp. says it plans to close the 20,000-square-foot Paradise Landing indoor waterpark at the Hilton Milwauke City Center hotel, located at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. Paradise Landing will close on March 3.

The waterpark opened in 2000 and was the first urban indoor hotel waterpark in the country, according to Steve Magnuson, vice president of operations for Marcus Hotels and Resorts.

“While we have seen success with the waterpark concept over the years, we now think this significant space could be repurposed in a more beneficial way for our guests,” Magnuson said. “We are always looking for new features and amenities that will appeal to the needs of today’s travelers.”

Hotel industry consultant Greg Hanis, president of New Berlin-based Hospitality Marketers International Inc., said the waterpark hotel market in Wisconsin appears to be overbuilt. Other than the Wisconsin Dells resorts, several waterpark hotels in the state are struggling.

“I think that to some extent the waterpark market in Wisconsin is too diluted,” he said. ‘Unless you’re a major destination, like out in the Dells, it’s kind of like people have been there and done that.”

The waterpark was a major attraction at first for the downtown Milwaukee Hilton, but in more recent years it was largely used for birthday parties by local residents who were not spending the night at the hotel, Hanis said.

The Marcus Corp. is not saying what could replace the waterpark.

“We are excited about the potential this space has and look forward to updating you on the plans for this new space in the near future,” Magnuson said.

The waterpark could be converted to an “enhanced pool area” with a spa, Hanis said. Or the space could be converted to meeting rooms, he said.

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