By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 25, 2022 at 11:31 AM

When the former convention center building – which occupied the block between Vel Phillips Avenue and 6th Street, Wells Street and Kilbourn Avenue – was demolished in the late 1990s with an eye toward expanding the then-new Wisconsin Center, a pre-cast concrete wall was erected.

That wall, with its etched diamond pattern, faces north and sits along the edge of Wells Street, near Phillips.

the wall
The wall, at left.

As work progresses on construction of the $420 million expansion that wall is now coming down, beginning with panels near the western end of the wall.

In addition to the ground work and some demolition that has been taking place for a few months now along Kilbourn Avenue, the wall removal – which is expected to take a several days – is one of the most visible signs of the construction of the new facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Oct. 28, and the project is expected to be ready to open by early 2024.

A rendering of the completed project.

The wall removal is being overseen by the project owner’s representative CAA ICON and construction management partners Gilbane | Smith.

Here is how the new convention center expansion will look when it’s completed. More interior renderings are here. The new center will have 300,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit hall space.

Some background on the project can be found here.

You can follow the construction at this website, which also have a live site cam.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.