Downtown Eau Claire (WQOW) – The long-awaited Pablo Center at the Confluence opens Saturday, but it is already bringing business to downtown Eau Claire.
Mike Schatz, Eau Claire Economic Development Administrator, said in the past four years, about 27 new businesses had sprouted downtown and said a lot of that growth is because of the Pablo Center.
Between the Pablo Center and Haywmarket Landing, about $95 million has been invested by the city, state and private sector.
Denise Mackey-Natz’s business, Urban Style, has been downtown for 15 years. Mackey-Natz said with her shop right across the Pablo Center, she has already noticed more foot traffic and expects even more, once it opens.
“I think it is a very positive effect because again, we see people walking around, people look in the windows that is going to be a lot of people going there checking it out, new people coming into town, so we are excited about all of it,” said Mackey-Natz.
Jewelry company Hello Adorn opened downtown about a year and a half ago. The co-owner, Jess Gardner, said while her business mainly relies on online sales, she and her husband moved their studio downtown because of the energy. Gardner said it does not hurt to have foot traffic, which can lead to more customers.
“It already has I mean we already had a ton of visitors that are staying at the Lismore that are on their way walking to the Confluence Project they’ll just pop in they’ve seen our windows and asking some questions so that’s fun,” Gardner told News 18.
Schatz said with the city expecting an increase in traffic downtown, and he said there are plans in the works to create more parking.
The grand opening of the Pablo Center is from noon to 5:30 p.m.