Appleton Convention Center Deal Made with Radisson Paper Valley Hotel
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
APPLETON, Wis.- A convention center in downtown Appleton is one step closer to becoming a reality. Today leaders announced a 25 year deal has been made between the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel and the Fox Cities Exhibition Center Board. They call it a critical step for the city.
The deal would allow the Radisson to operate the convention center for 25 years, once it's built. The site for the convention center would be directly behind the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, a place city leaders say is perfect for a venue like that.
Talk of a convention center in Appleton has been going on for years. It's been post-poned due to a downturn in the economy, but now it's getting back on track.
"One of the big pieces that's missing in the Fox Cities is the lack of exhibit space," said Radisson Paper Valley Hotel General Manager, Jay Schumer.
That's something the Fox Cities Exhibition Center Board is trying to change. They want to build a new convention center and now they have a spot in mind.
"It would be connected by a sky walk right behind the hotel," said Schumer.
Exhibition Center board members say a convention center behind the Radisson is the perfect place. They want to knock down and old building behind the hotel and fill in all 2 acres with what they say is the missing piece to Appleton.
"Visitors can participate in a lot of different things," said Fox Cities Exhibition Center board president, Walter Rugland.
Downtown Appleton has dozens of businesses lining the streets, so Rugland says the city would profit and so would other hotels.
"It looks like about 18,000 new guest rooms that currently can't come into the area that would come in on an annual basis," said Schumer.
Leaders say there is still work to be done, but this gets Appleton one step closer to being able to compete with the rest of the state to host conventions.
The next step is for the city of Appleton to buy the building behind the hotel, then 8 surrounding municipalities would need to approve a room tax increase. If all goes well, leaders hope to break ground in the spring.