After a plan to build a two-venue concert hall on a Summerfest parking lot was officially pulled last week, Madison-based FPC Live has announced a new site for the $50 million project: the northeast corner of the former Bradley Center site.
The site was announced in a press conference on the Deer District plaza Monday morning.
The new concert hall – like the previous iteration – was designed by Milwaukee's Eppstein Uhen Architects. The structure has been adjusted for the new location and is similar but not identical to the one pictured in renderings for the Third Ward site.
The original plan called for a 108,000-square foot building – which was expected to open after Summerfest 2023 – with two year-round venues, with capacities of up to 800 and 4,000 people.
FPC Live expects the new Deer District concert hall to host about 135 event nights annually, and to create, "several dozen full-time jobs and 600 part-time jobs," in addition to 500 construction jobs during the building.
According to Bucks president Peter Feigin, the new project will use about a third of the Bradley Center site – purchased from the City of Milwaukee for $1 – with space still remaining for future projects on the lot.
Construction on the new Deer District concert hall is expected to begin later this year, with plans to open in late 2023.
FPC Live – which will open a permanent office in Milwaukee in the coming weeks and will ultimately have offices in the concert hall building – said it would not seek financial assistance from the city for the project.
Mayor Cavalier Johnson said some approvals will be required from the Common Council, but did not specify the items.
FPC Live (Frank Productions, a joint venture partner of Live Nation) originally announced the venue for the Third Ward on a 1.25-acre Summerfest parking lot in December. However, some neighbors objected to the project over concerns about traffic, parking and noise, and on May 13, Summerfest and FPC Live jointly issued statements shutting down the Third Ward plan.
In its previous statement, FPC Live – which operates the High Noon Saloon, The Sylvee, The Orpheum and The Majestic Theater venues in Madison – said it still hoped to develop a multi-performance space indoor venue somewhere in Milwaukee.
“We remain dedicated to the Milwaukee live music landscape, we’re thrilled with our continuing partnership with MWF, and look forward to promoting concerts at the lakefront and throughout Milwaukee for years to come," said FPC Live President Charlie Goldstone.
Feigin said Monday that the deal came together in about three weeks after it became clear the Third Ward plan would not move forward.
The Bradley Center, which opened in 1988, was demolished in 2019, soon after the opening of Fiserv Forum.
Between the new hotel and venue and Public Museum site at Deer District, the expansion of the Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee Tool project at the former Time Insurance/Fortis building, a riverfront dog park and the newly announced mixed-use sports, entertainment and residential complex Downtown soccer stadium project, Westown will look and feel very different in the next few years.
"We're excited to add exponential value to the thriving Deer District," said Goldstone, "further enhancing the vibrancy of downtown Milwaukee. FPC Live has been committed to working with the community to find the ideal placement for these modern entertainment venues, and we found it."
Asked about competition with a number of other nearby venues of similar capacities, both Feigin and FPC Live officials said that the general admission focus sets the new hall apart and makes them unique in the market.
Some area concert halls, including Turner Hall across the street from the Deer District and The Rave on 24th and Wisconsin, are primarily general admission venues.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.