Elevated view from the northeast corner of the Baird Center (Wisconsin Center) expansion.

Milwaukee Unveils $456M Convention Center Expansion

In May of 2024 Milwaukee will unveil the $456 million expansion of the Baird Center (formerly known as the Wisconsin Center), which doubles the total convention center space to more than 1.3 million square feet.

That additional space will be put to good use during the upcoming Republican National Convention (July 15-18, 2024), which will bring more than 45,000 delegates, credentialed press and visitors to the city, generating an estimated $200 million in direct and indirect economic impact. Baird Center will also host Connect Marketplace (August 27-29) delivering another $5.9 million.

Water Fall rendering at Baird Center - Wisconsin Center District

“It’s safe to say that this will be one of Milwaukee’s biggest summers ever — one that will propel us into the national meeting spotlight,” said Marty Brooks, Wisconsin Center District president and CEO.

“With our world-class Baird Center providing a state-of-the-art setting for both the RNC and Connect Marketplace, we’ll not only see a significant economic boost; we’ll also show meeting planners across the country that Milwaukee is the ideal city for their next event.”

Rooftop deck at WCD
Rooftop deck outside of the new ballroom

The Wisconsin Center District owns and operates Baird Center; the 4,000-plus-seat Miller High Life Theatre and UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Beyond the WCD’s campus, Milwaukee’s wide array of hotels, sports facilities and attractions serve as perfect venues for off-site events.

Formerly known as the Wisconsin Center, the expanded Baird Center is expected to stimulate at least $12.6 billion in total spending in the state over the next 30 years, as well as generate at least $150 million in incremental state income.

Expanding the convention center makes it possible for the Baird Center to book simultaneous and overlapping events and secure larger, more prominent events, helping fill Milwaukee hotels and restaurants and positively impacting local shops and stores.

Additionally, Baird Center boasts cutting-edge sustainability features, including a solar roof, stormwater management system, bird-friendly glass and an on-site food digester. The convention center will be welcoming and inclusive for all, with on-site sensory rooms, nursing mother’s rooms and all-gender restrooms available for clients, guests and employees.

Baird Center celebrates its grand opening on Thursday, May 16 with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and a Grand Opening Gala in the brand-new rooftop Baird Ballroom. In addition, Baird Center will open its doors to the public on Saturday, May 18 from 1-5 p.m., offering an open house of the facility.

For more information, visit www.visitmilwaukee.org/meetings-and-conventions.

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