The Pablo factor: Downtown businesses anticipate boon with opening

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

At its core, the Pablo Center at the Confluence is a performing arts center.

While that may be its starring role, local officials are confident the gleaming new structure that opens next weekend at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers will mean more to Eau Claire than just a fancy new place to teach students about fine arts and hold plays, concerts and art shows.

“I expect this to be an economic driver for the whole region,” said Pablo Center executive director Jason Jon Anderson, who envisions a “Pablo halo effect” that will be a catalyst for new business and increased sales at existing enterprises throughout the Chippewa Valley.

The business boost began even before the curtain is scheduled to rise Saturday for the $60 million facility’s opening celebration, said Stuart Schaefer, president of Commonweal Development, a key player in the creation of the Confluence Project, which also includes the adjacent yet-to-be-finished public plaza and Haymarket Landing, a six-story building with commercial space on the ground floor that houses about 400 UW-Eau Claire students on the upper levels.

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Category: Eau Claire