The City of Milwaukee released the official Request For Proposal (RFP) it used to land the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The 92-page document doesn't include dozens of other pages of exhibits explaining the benefits of holding the event here. It shows just how vast this production will be for four days next July.
While Fiserv Forum served as the crown jewel for the city, it is but a small piece in an extremely large puzzle. There will be more than 1,500 parties, galas and other activities over the four days of the event. There needs to be other venues available, and Milwaukee was able to showcase its unique history as a selling point.
"Milwaukee has embraced both new architecture and old architecture, which makes a wonderfully random mix," Kristin Settle of Visit Milwaukee said. "No question, Milwaukee definitely wowed (the DNC Committee)."
The city's RFP touted a number of larger locations in addition to Fiserv Forum including Miller Park, Henry Maier Festival Park and the Milwaukee County Zoo, among others. However, Settle says it's those smaller, unique venues that really made Milwaukee stand out.
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"Milwaukee has a plethora of architecture," Settle said. "Everything from the Calatrava-designed Art Museum all the way to the Victorian design of the Pabst Mansion to the Flemish Renaissance buildings like the Grain Exchange. To be able to showcase all of these venues to the 50,000 people here will be impressive."
"Some of these old buildings, the architecture isn't like this anymore," Cori Coffman of Pritzlaff Events said. "They don't build them like this."
The Pritzlaff Building embodies what Milwaukee was trying to sell to the DNC: classic Milwaukee architecture with a modern flare. The building is the fifth-largest Cream City brick building in Milwaukee, and the inside is a step into the industrial past of the city.
Large wooden pillars fill one of their spaces, while an old box chute sits hidden away in a corner. It may look like more of a staircase when you first see it, but when you realize what it was used for in yester-Milwaukee, it transports you back to what this city used to be.
"Milwaukee has a lot of big old industrial buildings and have done a wonderful job rehabbing them. The Pritzlaff Building just happens to be one of them." — Cori Coffman of Pritzlaff Events
In a short 16 months, thousands upon thousands of people will have the same revelations.
"Milwaukee has a lot of big old industrial buildings and have done a wonderful job rehabbing them," Coffman said. "The Pritzlaff Building just happens to be one of them."
With the number of events planned, Settle says they can't have enough venues. Many will be turning over from breakfast to lunch to dinner to cocktails. However, it's a good problem to have.
"Spaces large and small throughout the city are going to be used," Settle said. "Literally, if you have an event space, reach out to the DNC and get your business in their mind so you can participate in these events."
Settle says to go to milwaukee2020.com if you have a venue you want to be used during the DNC. You can also visit the website if you are interested in volunteering. Officials say they have about only one-third of the volunteers they need.