Member Forum Recap

Thank you to everyone who attended our Member Forums last month. Nearly 100 people participated and had the opportunity to provide feedback on a variety of new ideas the Madison Club is considering as a result of strategic planning efforts by our board of directors and staff over the last two years. Members were given detail on the Club’s financial footing, its revenue streams and expenses, its position within the changing and growing downtown landscape, and the effect of increased competition for food and beverage venues locally.The most significant changes presented at the forums included architectural drawings for a proposed renovation of the lower level Tap Room and Club Room areas. This space, which is currently grossly underutilized, would allow for greater 

usage and higher revenue potential during all times of the day and would help the Madison Club stay relevant and desirable in an ever-competitive arena for event and meeting space. Highlights of the renovation proposal include:

  • Reconfiguration of the Tap Room, which would become a more open and updated lounge space for our members to use during the day and in the evening. This new lounge area would encompass the space now held by the Business Center. The goal of the expanded space is to offer a comfortable option during the day for members to grab a quick bite, work independently or gather informally with others for smaller meetings. In the evening, the space would offer more casual dining and cocktail options.

  • The Club Room and outdoor patio would also undergo a makeover by enclosing the patio with an expansive glass roof and transforming the two spaces into one large room that will provide an elegant, light-filled setting perfect for larger meetings, weddings, family and corporate events. The space is expected to have a capacity of more than 200 people, promoting it to the largest and most prominent event room in the building. The increased capacity of this space is critical as the Club is currently passed over for bookings based on its limited seating capacities.

  • As a result of the lower-level enclosure, the south end of the first and second floors will be pushed out toward the Monona Terrace, expanding the capacity of the Lake and Terrace Rooms as well. New windows will be installed in the south wall of the first and second floors to match the original architecture of the building.

Members who attended the forums had the opportunity to work in groups to reflect on the drawings and answer specific questions about the redesigned space and proposed usage. Top recommendations we heard included desires for:

  • More healthy food items in the lounge that could be available at all times of day.

  • Expanded coffee/café-type options during the day.

  • Coworking-style amenities with easy access to outlets and comfortable seating

  • Casual atmosphere and casual dress code (jeans/sportswear).

  • Brighter space that would be inviting/desirable during the day.

  • A mix of small plates and casual menu options in the evening

Construction and finishing bids for the entire project are estimated to be about $2 million. The Madison Club can and would draw from a healthy cash reserve fund. Additionally, the amount of the loan payment is expected to be easily covered by the increased revenue generated from the new space. To fund the remaining balance, members proposed the following fundraising considerations:

  • Host a large fundraiser/have a mix of smaller fundraising initiatives specifically for the project; perhaps giving members name recognition within the space (a brick, a plaque, etc.).

  • Encourage increased usage of the Club via memberships that reward higher usage (via lower dues or other perks).

  • Assess each member a reasonable fee.

  • Increase membership by offering rewards or incentives for referring new members.

The Madison Club’s Board and Staff are now taking all ideas and concerns generated during the forums into consideration. If you were unable to attend a forum but would like to offer your comments or pose a question, please email