Alliant Energy Center

A $1.3 million boost occurred in Alliant Energy Center rental business in 2017 through a partnership with the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau. A county committee has finished its work on the master plan and will forward its recommendations to the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

There was a $1.3 million boost in Alliant Energy Center rental business last year through a partnership with the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A full-time GMCVB sales manager was hired by the county in 2013 to market the AEC, leading to new events of CrossFit Games and Wizard World Comic Con to the 164-acre Alliant Energy Center campus. That along with a campus redevelopment project in the works and upgrades to bathrooms, loading docks and stage equipment in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, has brought new attention to the county-owned facility, county officials say.

“It really is bringing in more interest. Billboard put us on the top 20 venues to watch for 2018,” said Mark Clarke, Alliant Energy Center executive director.

There’s also been a boost in AEC revenue — 10 percent in 2017, Clark said.

The Dane County Board OK’d the $120,000 contract last week to continue the GMCVB contract that expired in December.

The three-year contract has two one-year renewal options.

There was a request for proposals for the initial contract, but a bid waiver was granted to renew the contract.

During the last four years, the contract has generated more than $4 million in revenue, according to Deb Archer, president of GMCVB and Madison Area Sports Commission.

“Having a sales manager on site and dedicated to generating business for AEC has made a world of difference,” Archer said of the contract renewal with the county.

Dane County is also moving forward on Alliant Energy Center redevelopment plans with a contract renewal with Vandewalle Associates to oversee the project. Clarke said the firm has been with the project since the beginning and will focus on community outreach.

Perkins + Will, a national firm, was hired to draft an AEC redevelopment master plan that could include replacing the aging Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Options for a hotel, restaurants and retail shops were discussed as part of the market study.

The $234,800 contract with Perkins +Will was approved by the county board last month. Clarke expects a draft plan to be available by early 2019.

Clarke said the Madison-based consultant, Vandewalle Associates, will work side-by-side with the county to oversee the project.

“They (Vandewalle Associates) are a separate local consultant, the consultant we hired is a national firm, but we want to have someone who is really engaged and understand the community since their office is right in our backyard,” Clarke said at the March 1 Dane County Board of Supervisors meeting.

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