The Deer District’s Getting a New $50 Million Concert Destination

This project replaces plans to create a new music venue in the Third Ward.

The Deer District is planning for a new concert destination on a portion of the property where the Bradley Center once stood. The project is part of a joint venture with the Milwaukee Bucks and Madison-based promoter and venue operator FPC Live.

The venue will have two concert spaces. One should be able to hold up to 4,000 people (at capacity) and the second up to 800. Construction is slated to kick off later this year and be done by late 2023.

FPC Live, along with parent company Frank Productions and its partner, Live Nation, produce nearly 550 events annually in Wisconsin, including at Fiserv Forum, the cornerstone development in the Deer District. FPC Live announced earlier this month that it was scrapping plans to develop an indoor live music venue on a surface parking lot site west of the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

The Deer District project – and its estimated $50 million price tag – will replace those plans.

“Deer District serves as a destination that’s redefining downtown Milwaukee and bringing two new concert halls will continue to solidify it as Milwaukee’s premiere location for entertainment,” Senior Vice President of Bucks Ventures and Development Michael Belot said in a news release.

FPC Live estimates these spaces will host more than 135 events per year, bringing an additional 200,000 fans annually to downtown Milwaukee.

“The Milwaukee Bucks and Deer District have continued to be incredible partners since the opening of Fiserv Forum in 2018, and they share in FPC Live’s vision for Milwaukee’s growth in the hospitality and entertainment ecosystem,” FPC Live President Charlie Goldstone said. “We’re excited to add exponential value to the thriving Deer District, further enhancing the vibrancy of downtown Milwaukee.”

Developers say they will not be requesting any financial assistance from the City of Milwaukee. 

The creation of the concert halls should create more than 500 construction jobs, as well as “several dozen” full-time jobs and 600 part-time positions.

The new development, which will also serve as FPC Live’s headquarters in Milwaukee, joins another planned Deer District addition, The Trade Milwaukee, a 200-plus room Marriott Autograph Collection hotel.

Late last week, Grafton-based Kacmarcik Enterprises and Kenosha-based Bear Development announced that they have agreed to purchase an 11-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the Marquette Interchange from Marquette University for the development of a new sports and entertainment district anchored by a pro soccer stadium and a 3,500-seat concert venue. 

The development also will feature a full-service hotel, multifamily housing, retail and restaurant/bar tenants. Terms of the sale and a total cost for the project were not immediately disclosed.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.