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Marquette University sells 11-acres of land to developers for new sports, entertainment district

Posted at 10:36 AM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 07:48:18-04

MILWAUKEE — Marquette University sold 11-acres of land to developers for a new sports and entertainment district, according to the developers.

Bear Development will work with Kacmarcik Enterprises to develop the area, which will feature a new stadium, an indoor concert venue, a full-service hotel, multi-family residential housing, as well as retail, and food and beverage elements.

The new sports and entertainment district will be bordered by N. 6th Street to the east, Michigan Street to the north, and the Marquette Interchange to the west and south.

“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.

According to the developers, the new 8,000-seat stadium will house a professional soccer club and will serve as a competition venue for Marquette's men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams. The stadium will also host community events, recreational programming, and other athletic uses.

The proposed downtown soccer stadium.
The facility includes a music venue.

Bear Development said the new professional soccer league affiliation will be announced soon.

Adjacent to the soccer facility will be a state-of-the-art 3,500-person indoor concert venue operated by Pabst Theater Group. Bear Development and Kacmarcik Enterprises said the facility will host national touring acts 80-100 days a year, with more than 300 events total at the venue.

“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.

WATCH: Gary Witt discusses the new facility:

Gary Witt

A 140-room hotel will be directly attached to the concert venue. Bear Development will own the hotel, which will feature a full-service bar and restaurant overlooking the soccer stadium.

There will also be 99 multi-family housing units within the district, which according to the developers will provide a "unique living experience as part of the broader sports and entertainment district."

The project is expected to break ground later this year, and open in the Spring of 2024.

"We are calling it Iron District of Milwaukee," said S.R. Mills, the CEO of Bear Real Estate Group. "Similar to Deer District, with sports and entertainment, and the housing piece. We think it will be a really great collaborative."

"This is a natural city for soccer," said Jim Kacmarcik, CEO of Kacmarcik Enterprises. "The fans, the people, the soccer clubs, the youth soccer - all those types of things are super strong in this city."

TMJ4's Charles Benson: "Are all the pieces in place - does this get to go forward, based on what you know today?"

Kacmarcik: "It does. There are few details, and I's to dot and T's to cross, and a few announcements that we are going to be making in the not-too-distant future, but we are full speed ahead."

All signs that suggest investing in downtown Milwaukee is a viable option despite scenes like this from last weekend's shootings that injured 21 people.

It also turns an under-used area into a space for sports and music fans.

"Bringing this type of life to that area and connecting the city is a natural thing," said Kacmarcik. "And of course doing it in a safe manner and having people just enjoy family fun."

Soccer fans in Milwaukee are stoked. They say Milwaukee is a perfect town for this project, given its love of sports.

"I think we are very passionate about soccer here," said soccer coach Cesar Castillo. "I think that this opportunity is going to unite us in a way."

"I think they will grow a bigger appreciation for the game, if there already isn't one," said Stefans Soccer social media marketing director Brandon Johnston. "It's something that's just non-stop action once you get there in person."

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