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Milwaukee Bucks and music promoter team up to plan new concert venues in Deer District

man at podium
Chuck Quirmbach
Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin speaks at Monday's news conference. Bucks player Pat Connaughton is at right.

The Milwaukee Bucks want to expand their footprint in the local concert scene.

The team has formed a joint venture with Madison-based promoter and venue operator FPC Live, which promises to spend $50 million to develop two concert venues in part of a vacant area just south of the Fiserv Forum, where the Bucks play basketball and host concerts.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson helped unveil the plans at a Monday news conference.

"Anyone who has passed by the former Bradley Center site, since it was deconstructed, must have thought, 'You know, what's next at this location?' Well, now we know at least part of the answer. This is good for downtown. It's good for the City of Milwaukee," Johnson said.

The announcement of this proposed development in what's known as the Deer District comes about ten days after downtown shootings following a Bucks game injured 21 people.

Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin said the security at, and outside, the new buildings will be a priority. "It's on top of our minds all the time, specifically in design," he said.

The Bucks say the two concert venues will only take up the northeast section of the former Bradley Center site.

The concert venues would be built on a portion of this vacant lot, where the Bradley Center once stood.
Chuck Quirmbach
The concert venues would be built on a portion of this vacant lot, where the Bradley Center once stood.

One venue will have a capacity of about 4,000 people, the other, 800. The team expects 135 events a year at the two sites, with plans to open them later next year.

FPC Live, its parent company Frank Productions and its partner Live Nation produce about 550 events annually in Wisconsin, including some at Fiserv Forum.

FPC recently pulled back from a proposed concert venue near Summerfest. But the firm is promising designs inside the Deer District venues that are unlike competing concert halls in the Milwaukee area.

Milwaukee Common Council President Jose Perez sayidhe's heard competition concerns from other music site owners.

"You know, I know some of the venues are nervous about that. But I'm told this hits a sweet spot, fills a void of other concerts that don't come here or turn away Milwaukee for that reason. These guys know the market. It's their investment. We're going to see what the plan looks like and figure out how we get it through," Perez told WUWM.

Perez said the council will have say-so over zoning for the two new venues, and could take up other issues.

The Bucks are promising to honor community benefits agreements affecting wages and organizing rights in the Deer District. Peter Rickman, president at Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, said he looks forward to nailing down the details for the two new concert venues.

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