Florian brings fresh look
Business expects to hire about 60 employees

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

July 2, 2014

Construction continues on the entryway at the new Florian Park and Conference Center on Friday afternoon in Germantown. The new conference center, that was once the Quilted Bear,
is set to open this July. 

John Ehlke/Daily News

GERMANTOWN - A Germantown business group bought the building that formerly housed the Quilted Bear and is renovating it into a conference and event center that could add several jobs.

Florian Park Conference and Event Center, N111W18611 Mequon Road, is expected to open this month.

Ryan Rahl, director of operations, said it’s an upscale event and conference center that can seat 425 people.

“We specialize in weddings as well as corporate trainings and social gatherings, anniversaries, birthday parties and wedding showers,” Rahl said.

There will be full-service catering with 36 menu options and a buffet-style offering. There is also an outdoor ceremony area - Willow Gardens, named after the willow tree that’s been on the property for 40 years - that can seat 250.

Construction continues on the entryway at the new Florian Park and Conference Center on
Friday afternoon in Germantown.

John Ehlke/Daily News

Rahl said Germantown Hospitality Group owns Country Inn and Suites, which is next door to the center. They worked closely with the Quilted Bear for 10 years hosting guests for events.

When the property went for sale they aggressively pursued it, Rahl said.

The Quilted Bear was built in 1982 and closed in 2012. PDM Inc. owns the Florian Park Conference and Event Center. The Germantown Hospitality Group and PDM Inc. are made of the same ownership, Rahl said.

Rahl said Germantown, as the gateway to Washington County, is a nice location.

“We feel this area has a lot of opportunity. It’s huge for manufacturing,” he said. “We feel there’s not a good venue within a close proximity unless you get 20 to 30 miles from here.”

John Groh works on replacing a lamp as construction continues at the new
Florian Park and Conference Center.

John Ehlke/Daily News

Lynn Grgich, executive director for the Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce, said it will be nice to have a a large-capacity venue.

She said manufacturers could use the facility for seminars and weddings could be held there. This  could attract out-of-county and out-of-state visitors.

“We’re excited for their grand opening to see all the renovations,” Grgich said.

About $750,000 worth of renovations was put into the building. Work began Nov. 7 when PDM Inc. bought the building.

“We pretty much took the entire interior of the property down to the studs as well as added some rooms,” Rahl said.

A new fountain on display as construction continues at the new
Florian Park and Conference Center.

John Ehlke/Daily News

During the initial phase all of the drywall, ceilings, lighting and electrical was removed and replaced. Bathrooms were also renovated.

A restaurant on the property was converted into bridal and groom suites. A smaller banquet room that can fit about 55 people was also added to the restaurant area.

A 1,000-foot addition was built to add curb appeal. A portico was built with a pitched roof that features white columns and a new lobby greets guests. A deck was added to the back.

The center was to open in April, but the harsh winter and spring rain delayed construction.

Now that the project is near completion, Rahl said the most rewarding part is hearing the excitement from the community.

“It’s great to hear the phone ring,” Rahl said. “Our market research has proven to be accurate at this point.”

Rahl said anyone who’s interested in hosting an event will be taken on a tour.

Customers are allowed to hold a tentative date up to seven days without a deposit. After that week, a down payment is required and Rahl said the event planners can begin their work.

He said event planners will show the customer what the room will look like in 3-D renderings.

“We will go through every detail from the color of the linens to the exact timeline,” Rahl said.

Because it takes a number of people to pull off an event ,Rahl said they are hiring 30-40 employees this year and plan on having 60 employees next year.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from former employees. They’re really excited. It’s neat to see,” Rahl said.

To learn more about the Florian Park Conference and Event Center, call 257-9181.