It’s Monday, which means Milwaukee is getting another new downtown music venue.
Madison-based FPC Live, a division of Live Nation subsidiary Frank Productions, plans to build a $50 million two-room music venue on the northeast section of the old Bradley Center site in the Deer District. FPC Live previously planned to build its Milwaukee venue near the Summerfest grounds, though that plan was eventually scrapped.
Similar to that original plan, the two-room venue at the Deer District would include a 4,000-person room and an 800-person room. The facility would host more than 135 events a year. The two-room venue would occupy less than a third of the currently vacant 5.7-acre site.
FPC Live made the announcement on Monday, outside Fiserv Forum, in conjunction with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“We are excited to further enhance the relationship between FPC Live and the Milwaukee Bucks with the addition of these two spectacular venues,” said Michael Belot, Senior Vice President of Bucks Ventures and Development, in a press release. “Deer District serves as a destination that’s redefining downtown Milwaukee, and bringing two new venues to Deer District will continue to solidify it as Milwaukee’s premiere location for entertainment.”
Pending Common Council and mayoral approval, construction could begin this year. An opening date has been set for late 2023. A press release notes that FPC Live “will not request any financial assistance from the City of Milwaukee.”
The news comes days after an 8,000-seat soccer stadium and adjacent 3,500-person concert venue were announced for the corner of 6th and Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. That concert venue—located in the newly created “Iron District MKE”—will be operated by the Pabst Theater Group.
FPC Live’s original plan for a venue near Summerfest faced criticism from neighbors concerned about traffic and noise. Beyond those complaints, the company has faced national criticism in recent days. A Washington Post story reported that in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Live Nation lobbied to be included in a federal relief program meant for independent venues. That didn’t happen, yet several Live Nation subsidiaries—including Frank Productions—did receive federal aid. FPC received $10 million.
“It is accurate to say that both Frank Productions and Frank Productions Concerts are subsidiaries of Live Nation,” Joel Plant, chief executive of Frank Productions, told The Post, “and it is important to note that under the [Shuttered Venue Operators Grant] program, simply being a subsidiary of a publicly-traded entity does not make an entity ineligible.”
FPC Live is currently the exclusive booker of Madison venues The Sylvee, the Orpheum Theater, the Majestic Theatre, and High Noon Saloon.
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