Marty Brooks was named Wisconsin Center District chief executive officer in December, where he will oversee operations of the Wisconsin Center, the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, the Miller High Life Theatre and the new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Brooks comes to Milwaukee from St. Louis, where he was most recently the senior vice president and general manager for the Edward Jones Dome and the America’s Center Convention Complex.
In a recent interview with BizTimes reporter Corrinne Hess, Brooks discussed his ideas for the WCD.
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Miller High Life Theatre
“We need to become aggressive in identifying artists, shows and special events that can increase the activity of the Miller High Life Theatre. Quite simply, we need to book more events. We believe the 4,000-seat theater and the other unique event spaces in the building are an asset to the community and WCD’s responsibility is to make sure the public has a chance to use them. We will be immediately intensifying our efforts to attract entertainment and sports events to the Theatre and UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.”
Wisconsin Center expansion
“Last year, the convention center brought nearly 300,000 people to downtown Milwaukee and our goal is to increase that traffic in the coming years. The Center District board has worked over the past year to improve the convention center business at the District. This includes increased cooperation between the boards of the Center District and VISIT Milwaukee; operational improvements to better utilize our current space; and an expansion feasibility study evaluating the need for additional hotel rooms, additional square footage and new types of event space. I look forward to meeting with the authors of the study to better understand the process they followed, then review and ask questions about their observations and recommendations.”
Fourth and Wisconsin site
“The recommendations for convention center expansion make it clear: to attract more conventions, there need to be more blocks of hotel rooms. The development of the (vacant) Fourth and Wisconsin (site) needs to be considered as part of the Wisconsin Center expansion process, which will include an analysis of existing – and potential increase to – the number of hotel rooms around the city. There is not one area or proposal that stands out, but in order for convention center expansion to have an impact on the types of conventions Milwaukee is able to host, it needs to happen in conjunction with new hotel rooms.”