A 35,000-square-foot conference center is being planned for The Corridor, a mixed-use project that Irgens is developing in Brookfield.
The $9 million to $12 million conference center will include a 20,000-square-foot ballroom/multipurpose room and will be the largest of its kind in the western suburbs.
[caption id="attachment_134868" align="alignright" width="350"]
A rendering of The Corridor project in Brookfield.[/caption]
The city of Brookfield and VISIT Brookfield have been working on the project for more than two years. The center will be fully-funded by the city's hotel room tax, which will be increased from 8 to 10 percent, said Nancy Justman, president and CEO of VISIT Brookfield.
“We have done market studies and found there are an awful lot of opportunities for business meetings, seminars and all-employee meetings," said Tim Casey, economic development administrator with the City of Brookfield. "There is a strong business base in Brookfield and Waukesha County and an opportunity to hold those events here.”
Two architectural firms, Kahler Slater and HGA are being considered for the conference center project, Justman said. A selection committee is looking at conceptual designs and plans will likely be presented to the city in the next four to eight months. Construction should begin in 2017.
“There are a lot of events where people are looking for space in Brookfield and we cannot accommodate them,” Justman said. “This is an amazing opportunity and fills a strong need we’ve had.”
Milwaukee-based Irgens, which is building the Corridor on 66 acres next to I-94 at Bluemound Road and Calhoun Road, has reserved space for the conference center in the middle of the development, with access from Calhoun Road.
The conference center will be connected to the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, also planned for the development.
On Tuesday, David Arnold, executive vice president of Irgens, said a second hotel could also be added to The Corridor project.
“A future second hotel is something leadership in the city is talking about because of the size and scope of the conference center,” Arnold said. “It will be decided in the second or third quarter of this year.”
The $153 million Corridor project is split into three sections. The middle section will have a wellness/health care and hospitality focus, the section along I-94 is the office portion of the project and the northern section, along Bluemound Road is retail focused, with Dick’s Sporting Goods as the anchor tenant. Portillo’s has also been announced. It will open June 15.
Arnold said there are three retail sites remaining: A bank outlot, a site for a 10,000-square-foot restaurant or 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of multi-tenant retail and a site for 20,000 to 45,000 square feet for retail.
Irgens will announce a telecommunications retailer “soon,” Arnold said.
In January, Irgens announced Chanhassen, Minn.-based Life Time Fitness
would enter the Wisconsin market with a 120,000-square-foot facility at The Corridor. However, those plans now seem to be up in the air. On Tuesday, Arnold said Life Time is still very interested in the western suburban Milwaukee market, particularly The Corridor, but they are “right sizing the marking and looking at their programing.”
“We’re very hopeful,” he said.
Life Time could not be reached for comment.