We will have a new USL Championship Milwaukee team for the 2025 season after a formal announcement of the expansion along with new renderings of the downtown stadium.
The Iron District MKE sports/entertainment district will be be located at an 11-acre site parcel from Marquette University, is set to open in spring 2025. The parcel, to 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 team owner 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.
“This is an announcement we’ve been working towards behind the scenes for years, and I’m thrilled to bring high-level professional soccer to the city of Milwaukee,” said Jim Kacmarcik, Chairman and CEO, Kacmarcik Enterprises, via press release. “Milwaukee is a premier sports city with a rich soccer culture that runs deep throughout our community. This club, and the entire Iron District MKE project, share an ambitious vision of making a positive impact on the city of Milwaukee, and we can’t wait to get started.”
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.
“In discussions with the developers for Iron District and representatives from Milwaukee Pro Soccer, it’s clear that this group’s progressive and ambitious plans can have a transformative impact on an area of our city that needs this kind of investment,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson via press release. “We are proud to welcome the USL Championship to Milwaukee, and I commend the entire Iron District group on the inclusive, community-focused approach they are taking with this project.”
In addition to the future Milwaukee Pro Soccer USL Championship franchise, the Iron District stadium will serve as the home for the Marquette University men’s and women’s soccer teams and lacrosse teams.
“It was important to us to sell the land for the Iron District to a strategic partner that would revitalize this high-profile corridor within Milwaukee’s Westown neighborhood,” said Dr. Michael R. Lovell, President, Marquette University, via press statement. “Together with Milwaukee Pro Soccer, the USL, Kacmarick Enterprises and Bear Development, we are accomplishing that.”
Renderings courtesy USL Championship.