New sports and entertainment district coming to Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — A new sports and entertainment district is set to debut in downtown Milwaukee in 2024.

What You Need To Know

  • A new sports and entertainment district is set to debut in downtown Milwaukee in 2024
  • Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development said they plan to purchase 11 acres of land from Marquette University, which will develop into the district
  • The companies said in a joint statement the new district will include a hotel, housing, retail locations, food and beverage establishments, as well as a stadium; the stadium is set to host a professional soccer club, Marquette’s soccer teams and Marquette’s lacrosse teams
  • Hundreds of new jobs will come to Milwaukee through these business establishments, as well as the construction and development of the area

Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development said they plan to purchase 11 acres of land from Marquette University, which will develop into the district.

The parcel of land is bordered by Sixth and Michigan streets on the east and north sides respectively. The 794/I-43 interchange rounds out the south and east ends of the area.

The companies said in a joint statement the new district will include a hotel, housing, retail locations, food and beverage establishments, as well as a stadium and concert venue. The stadium is set to host a professional soccer club, Marquette’s soccer teams and Marquette’s lacrosse teams.

“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. “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.”

The stadium will include 8,000 seats, featuring a synthetic turf surface. The professional soccer league affiliation has yet to be announced.

Officials noted the stadium could also be used for community and recreational events.

“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 Michael Lovell, Marquette’s president. “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.”

Hundreds of new jobs will come to Milwaukee through these business establishments, as well as the construction and development of the area.

Additionally, officials said they expect the sports and entertainment district to bring a million visitors to Milwaukee a year.

An indoor concert venue will be built adjacent to the soccer facility. The venue can hold 3,500 people and will be operated by Pabst Theater Group and Kacmarcik Enterprises. Project leaders said, “the facility will host national touring acts 80-to-100 nights a year and more than 300 events a year in total.”

(Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development)

Gary Witt, president and CEO of the Pabst Theater Group, said the location is coupled with a lot of parking, as well as access to trains, buses and highways.

“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,” Witt said.

A 140-room hotel, complete with lake and downtown views, will be attached to the concert venue. The hotel will include a full-service bar, plus a restaurant overlooking the stadium.

Project leaders also said the development will include 99 multi-family housing units on the west side of the property.

According to Marquette, “the site, which contains mostly vacant parcels and parking lots, includes a vacant hotel building, an office building and the Marquette Behavior Analysis Program Building, located at 525 N. 6th St. All buildings are included in the sale.”

The university said developers will demolish the vacant building and tenants in the office building have been notified of the need to relocate. Marquette’s Behavior Analysis Program will need to be relocated, but a new space has yet to be determined. 

The project is scheduled to break ground later this year.