Houdini Plaza Header

Photo credit: Diane Putzer

Recapturing the Magic of Houdini Plaza

Houdini Plaza, a main gathering area and gateway to downtown Appleton, Wis., has served as a multi-purpose, community-focused space for years—featuring parades, festivals, concerts and cultural traffic of about 500,000 people annually. As host to so many events, and always abuzz with activity, it began to show signs of significant wear and tear.

Renovation efforts aiming to “recapture the magic” of the plaza began to create a welcoming space that people will embrace. With more than 70 employees in Appleton working in a building on the southern boundary of Houdini Plaza, the Principal Financial Group® was eager to help.

Photo credit: Diane Putzer

“Downtown Appleton is an accessible community with a diverse mix of businesses that make the area an excellent working environment for employees of The Principal® and echoes our commitment to work/life balance. We’re especially excited to be a part of the renovation of Houdini Plaza as this will enhance an already vibrant area,” says Greg Burrows, a senior vice president at The Principal.

Houdini Plaza plays an important role as an inviting, vibrant space that showcases the city’s identity. Our $25,000 gift is helping to complete the renovation, boosting the city's image to attract new visitors, retain and recruit businesses, and influence the appeal of the entertainment and shopping district.

Goals of the renovation include:

  • Creating a safe, sustainable, open-air space
  • Accommodating important community events
  • Connecting nearby attractions
  • Enhancing the space to its full potential
  • Providing a vibrant gathering place to celebrate community

The new, contemporary design incorporates an illuminated entry column, fountain feature and modern landscaping while keeping a focus on flexible activity and seating areas for year-round enjoyment.

Houdini Plaza reopened in the summer of 2013.

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