A new Milwaukee soccer stadium is planned as part of a new sports/entertainment complex at one of the busiest areas of Wisconsin and will include an indoor concert venue, a full-service hotel, multi-family residential housing, retail, and food and beverage elements.
The project, to be located at an 11-acre site parcel from Marquette University, is set to open in spring 2024. The parcel, which will be master developed by Kenosha-based Bear Development, is bordered by North Sixth Street to the east, Michigan Street to the north, and the 794/I-43 interchange to the east and south. (Think kitty-corner from downtown’s Hilton Milwaukee, a very visible landmark.)
The centerpiece of the proposed district: an 8,000-seat-stadium serving as the home to the highest level of professional soccer in the state of Wisconsin and as the home competition field for Marquette men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams. (A professional soccer league affiliation will be announced soon.) The stadium will also host community events, recreational programming and other athletic uses. The field, which features a premium, synthetic turf surface, will be used from March through November, hosting approximately 200 events.
Adjacent to the Milwaukee soccer stadium will be a state-of-the-art 3,500-person indoor concert venue operated by the Pabst Theater Group in partnership with Kacmarcik Enterprises. The facility will host national touring acts 80-to-100 nights a year and more than 300 events a year in total. Pabst is a powerhouse in the local arts scene, operating the Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater and Turner Hall.
“Milwaukee is one of the great sports cities in the United States, and we are excited to bring professional outdoor soccer to the community,” said Jim Kacmarcik, chairman and CEO of Kacmarcik Enterprises, and the lead owner of Forward Madison FC, Madison’s USL League One franchise, via press statement. “The beauty of soccer is that all across the world, communities rally behind their city’s club to support the players, the team, and each other.”
“This amazing new venue is another rung on the Pabst Theater Group’s ‘artist and fan developmental ladder’ and will help artists to choose Milwaukee as a city to not only launch their careers but support them as they continue to return and as they grow,” said Gary Witt, president and CEO of the Pabst Theater Group, via press statement. “The location is a perfect fit for a concert venue. It has plenty of parking and easy access to trains, buses, and highways, and it’s only a stone’s throw from downtown. This is the right place for us to be, working alongside great partners like Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development and getting to expand our venues’ potential in the same space as an exciting new professional soccer stadium. As an almost 20-year-old independent Milwaukee business, we are honored to carry the torch for live performances in Milwaukee into the future, along with other independent local powerhouses like The Rave, The Cactus Club, and Shank Hall.”
Directly attached to the indoor concert venue will be a full-service, 140-room hotel with downtown Milwaukee and Lake Michigan views. Plans for the upscale hotel, owned by Bear Development, will feature a full-service bar and restaurant overlooking the soccer stadium.
The development is seen as a boost for the Westown neighborhood and the region while playing a pivotal role in linking downtown Milwaukee, the Menomonee Valley, the Near West Side neighborhood, and Marquette University. Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater is serving as the lead design and architecture partner for the project.
“We are thrilled to work with the City of Milwaukee and other community partners to transform a long-dormant site into a vibrant sports and entertainment district, furthering opportunities to live, work and play downtown,” said S.R. Mills, Bear Development CEO, in a press statement.
“This new development reimagines and promises to bring new life into a highly visible strategic corridor, presenting an exceptional opportunity to connect the Marquette University campus and Westown neighborhood with the Downtown Milwaukee renaissance,” said Marquette President Michael R. Lovell via press statement. “The economic revitalization and community pride this multi-purpose development will catalyze is something I am proud Marquette can help facilitate through the strategic sale of this important parcel of land. I look forward to cheering on our men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer teams in their new competition venue.”
Additionally, the western edge of the parcel will feature 99 multi-family housing units, which will provide a unique living experience as part of the broader sports and entertainment district.
The project is scheduled to break ground later this year.