Wisconsin Center District chooses construction manager for convention center expansion

Will immediately begin work with design team

The Wisconsin Center located on of Fourth Street and Wisconsin Avenue has 188,695 square feet of exhibit space.

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:31 pm

The Wisconsin Center District has named the team of Gilbane Building Co. and C.D. Smith Construction Inc. as the construction manager for the planned expansion of the downtown Milwaukee convention center.

Marty Brooks, president and chief executive of WCD, which owns and operates the Wisconsin Center and other downtown venues, made the announcement Friday evening in a news release.

“The selection of construction manager is a critical milestone in the continued progression of the expansion of the Wisconsin Center,” said Brooks. “We had several very well qualified bids. The combined experience that Gilbane Smith have working together, along with their competitive fee structure, was what truly set them apart.”

In addition to Rhode Island-based Gilbane, which has a significant presence in Milwaukee,  and Fond du Lac-based C.D. Smith, three other teams expressed interest in the construction manager role: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc. and The Concord Group; AECOM Hunt and CG Schmidt; and Clark Construction Group LLC and Hunzinger Construction Co.

This comes weeks after WCD also named the project’s design team, which consists of Atlanta-based tvsdesign and Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects. Denver-based CAA ICON was also previously hired as WCD’s owner’s representative on the project.

The construction and architectural teams will immediately begin working on the expansion project design and determine project costs. The WCD board previously approved preparing up to $300 million in bonds for the project and is targeting a spring 2021 groundbreaking.

Mike Abrams, senior director of CAA ICON, said at a December WCD Board of Directors meeting that a project budget should be put together by March. The news release states that renderings for the project should be released early in the second quarter.

“With CAA/ICON, tvsdesign/EUA, and Gilbane Smith on board, I feel confident that we have assembled an incredible core group of experts,” Brooks said. “This is the best possible team to lead us into the future of creating and building a facility that is transformational to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.”

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.