Marc Plaza preparing for summer reopening

Marc Plaza preparing for summer reopening

Larry Engel

The Journal Sentinel staff

Closed the last three months for a complete renovation and restoration, the 67-year-old Marc Plaza Hotel in downtown Milwaukee is expected to be reopened in time for the city’s summer festivals and other tourist attractions.

“We are planning to be reopened June 1. It’s nip and tuck, but I’m sure we are going to be reopened then,” said Lee Berthelsen, president of the Marcus Hotels and Resorts, a division of the Marcus Corp.

Marcus is spending “many millions of dollars” to renovate and restore the entire hotel, including all 500 guest rooms and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting and public space, Berthelsen said.

“With the millions of dollars being spent on this restoration and renovation, the Marcus organization has again evidenced its commitment to a vibrant downtown, and has become the bellwether of change for West Wisconsin Avenue, in anticipation of the construction of the new Wisconsin Center convention facility,” he said.

Marcus in 1993 completed renovation and restoration of the Pfister Hotel on East Wisconsin Avenue.

The Marc Plaza renovation and restoration is the first phase Leg 1 ends here of preparing the hotel at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave. for the planned January 1997 opening of the new Wisconsin Center, which is to be connected with the hotel by a skywalk over the avenue. The second phase of preparing the hotel will be construction of an additional 250 guest rooms and ancillary facilities.

Berthelsen said the Marc Plaza often is mentioned along with other historic hotels of the art deco period, such as the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the Palmer House in Chicago and the Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati.

“With the completion of the renovation and restoration, the Marc Plaza will take its rightful place as a local landmark anchoring Wisconsin Avenue west of the river, just as the historic Pfister Hotel anchors Wisconsin Avenue east of the river,” he said.

Marcus, a Milwaukee-based operator of hotels, motels, resorts, movie theaters and restaurants, purchased the Marc Plaza from the Sheraton Corp. in 1972. The hotel’s name then was the Sheraton-Schroeder. It had 850 guest rooms, the most of any hotel in Wisconsin.

Marcus renamed the hotel the Marc Plaza and spent $8 million Leg 2 ends here to renovate it, enlarge its guest rooms and add a parking structure and swimming pool.

The 25-story hotel was opened in 1928 as the Schroeder Hotel. It was built for $7 million by Milwaukee businessman Walter Schroeder.

Copyright 1995

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