Alliant Energy Center Campus Master Plan – Visioning Process

In 2016 Dane County began working with Vandewalle & Associates on the first two phases of a four-phase, multi-year effort to develop a strategic vision and market-driven, financially sustainable plan for the 164-acre Alliant Energy Center campus.

Needs and background. The AEC campus serves as the region’s premier, multi-venue expo, convention, and event destination, providing the regional community with a place to gather, share information, and attract visitors. AEC offers tremendous unrealized potential to leverage its close proximity to the downtown and to Lake Monona—assets which set the City apart as a venue for large national events, and which are proven particularly relevant during large-scale and national level events such as the AEC’s recent hosting of the CrossFit games.

Altogether, the 164-acre AEC campus is made up of six primary facilities:

  • Veterans Memorial Coliseum holds more than 10,000 visitors and is utilized for sporting events, large concerts, and entertainment productions.
  • Exhibition Hall is the premier facility for conventions, meetings, banquets, and much more, consisting of 255,000 square feet of space.
  • Willow Island is a 29-acre outdoor venue surrounded by two ponds and is used for outdoor festivals, concerts, and other outdoor events.
  • The New Holland Pavilions, totaling 290,000 square feet, make Alliant Energy Center an industry leader in agricultural shows. These multi-use buildings also can be used for exhibition space, trade shows, and more.
  • The Arena, 22,000-square feet of exhibition space, suits a multitude of smaller events including trade shows, staged performances, and consumer events.
  • AEC Parking has over 5,700 surface parking stalls that also double as outdoor exhibition and event space

Goals for the Vision. Successful implementation of a bold vision for this large district is likely to catalyze new in

vestment in the surrounding areas of the City, as well as provide economic benefit for the entire County.

Vandewalle & Associates’ Role. Vandewalle & Associates led much of phase 1 and 2 of the Planning Process, and provided a range of services including:

  • Trends and market analysis
  • Improvement costs and benefits
  • Economic Impact Analysis
  • Vision and Planning
  • Public Engagement
  • Implementation Strategy

The Vision: “The Alliant Energy Center is a key regional asset that serves as a dynamic convening campus providing an exceptional and authentic experience for the community and visitors alike. The seamlessly integrated campus serves as a catalyst for a vibrant destination district driving tax base growth and increased access to economic opportunity for area residents.”

Strategic Framework. In addition to laying the groundwork for the master plan, the final Vision and Implementation Framework laid out six specific Strategic Initiatives to guide investments over the next 15 to 20 years:

  1. AEC Campus Master Plan
  2. Multijurisdictional Destination District Redevelopment Plan
  3. Funding and Governance
  4. Operations/Business Plan
  5. Market Strategy/Branding
  6. Public and Stakeholder Engagement

Implementation of the Vision will require a sustained effort over the next decade and beyond; but the next two years are critical to continuing the planning process.

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