Latest Milwaukee Venue News


January 18, 2022: Venue Development FAQ

General

Who are Frank Productions and FPC Live?
The mission of Frank Productions is, “Connecting artists with fans and helping them have fun since 1964”. Frank Productions is the parent company to FPC Live, which is a national concert promotion company founded in Madison, WI that also owns and operates music venues in select markets and promotes concerts throughout the United States. Our company successfully promotes and produces concerts with 100 to 50,000 fans in venues of all types and sizes.

Why did you announce this project in December? Why not earlier?
It was important for us to solidify as much information as possible before releasing the project to the public. It is our intention to work with the community to develop the best project possible. Getting community feedback is part of our design process. We are listening and will be incorporating your feedback into our project design. It is our intention to have a strong relationship with our neighbors. That’s how we do business.

What is the relationship between FPC Live and Live Nation?
Frank Productions is the parent company of FPC Live and National Shows 2. Live Nation is a joint-venture partner with Frank Productions.

How are you committed to Milwaukee and its community?
We love Milwaukee. Many members of our team are from Milwaukee. We have always dreamt of working on this type of project in Milwaukee.

Our values as a company are respect, integrity, teamwork, and quality. We are committed to all communities in which we operate. We actively engage in our communities and neighborhoods as agents for problem-solving and positive change via investment, outreach, employment, and partnership. As our projects progress, we will have a physical office housing both full and part-time staff in the Third Ward. Our local staff will be a personal conduit between our company and the community and foster a close and productive relationship with neighborhood stakeholders. 

Our buildings are used not only for concerts, we believe they should be facilities that contribute to placemaking and community building.  Our goal is to have a diverse range of events that reflect Milwaukee’s rich culture and welcomes all citizens. 

We believe the City of Milwaukee and its residents deserve this investment in order to solidify its position as a top destination for live entertainment and events.

Is this going to be a year-round Summerfest?
No. Summerfest is a unique, well-known, well-loved, fifty-four-year-old outdoor music festival that draws hundreds of thousands of fans during its season each year. Summerfest often hosts up to 80,000 patrons per day in a festival setting where attendees often take in an entire day of entertainment. Our two rooms are year-round indoor concert halls with estimated capacities of 4,000 and 800. Events at our facilities have a defined beginning and end allowing us to manage ingress and egress more precisely. On the handful of occasions that we will have sold out shows in both rooms, our complex will still host less than 5,000 fans.

Why does Milwaukee need another venue?
First-class cities have many cultural attractions that all add to the vibrancy of living in these locations. The amenities and offerings these attractions can give communities are a large part of why people want to live there, and why businesses want to locate there. Milwaukee is a first-class city, and it deserves this investment and venue complex as part of its culture and arts community.

Recently, Milwaukee has seen major investments in the entertainment space: a new arena, a commitment to build out the convention center, as well as other key investments in existing entertainment spaces. These kinds of investments are necessary to compete with other Midwest cities who are making their own substantial investments in local arts venues.

This development will continue to build off the momentum and success of these other projects, and help ensure that Milwaukee can outcompete other markets for shows and provide the city with more options, not fewer.

What will be the financial impact on the local community?
The live event industry has enormously positive cultural, social and financial impacts on communities throughout the world. In terms of fiscal impacts, there are both direct (job creation, sales tax, property tax, etc.) and indirect (artists and fans eating, drinking, shopping and staying before, during and after events). One recent study reported that the concerts and live entertainment industry in Wisconsin generated more than 13,000 jobs, $86 million in state and local tax payments, and $1.5 billion in total economic impact in 2019. We know from our experiences in Wisconsin and across the country that hospitality and retail businesses near venues report enormous success when events are held. When asked how important The Sylvee is to their business, a nearby restaurant said, “On a scale of 1-10? An 11.” 

What are the financial and tax implications of this development?
Currently, the site we are developing pays zero dollars in property taxes to the city. The building will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of property tax in its first year and tens of millions over the initial term of the ground lease. In addition, the venue complex will generate substantial sales tax payments to local and state governments. These are important secondary benefits of the project; not only will our shows help drive customers to more area restaurants, bars, stores and hotels, but we will also help the city fund its police, fire, schools, and general services with our significant tax payments.

Operations

What will be your hours of operation for events?
We will have standard operating hours for our box office which will be determined at a later date. Hours of operations vary from event to event, but for most concerts, doors open in the early evening and the event finishes prior to midnight.

What is the capacity of the building?
There are two rooms in the development that can host events concurrently. The capacities are estimated at 4,000 and 800.

Will the new venues have seating?
Both rooms will have some measure of reserved seats sold on a show-by-show basis as well as premium suites.

How many concerts and events will take place? How many days will you be open during the year?
These are indoor venues so it will operate year-round. We estimate 135 events between the two rooms, depending on demand.

What kind of bands will be performing?
All genres of music and performers that reflect the tastes of concert goers in the Milwaukee market.

Will you serve alcohol and food?
For public events, our bars will serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for fans to enjoy while they are at the venues. Alcoholic beverages will not be permitted outside of the premises and must be discarded before a fan leaves. For private events that have catering, food would be served/available to attendees.

How are the lines being managed at the concert?
We have significant expertise managing ingress for events and we will be working closely with neighbors and the Third Ward Association to ensure this work is done at the highest level. Our proposed building will have one entry point for fans, and one entry point for suite-holders.  Patrons arriving before doors open will be pre-loaded into the plaza on the east side of our building and then lined up moving North along the Private Drive when necessary.

How many people will you employ?
Approximately 15 full time and hundreds of part-time employees. We intend to hire from the city of Milwaukee and help get folks back to work in these difficult times.

The Building, Placement and Zoning

Where will this project be located?
The building will be located in the Third Ward of Milwaukee between Summerfest Place (North), Jackson Street (West), Erie Street (South) and a Private Drive (East).

Why did you decide to pick this location specifically?
FPC Live explored many options in the Milwaukee metro area before settling on this location. There were many variables that influenced our final decision, including:

  • The Lake Front’s unparalleled history of hosting the biggest entertainers in the world for over 50 years.
  • An affinity for the artistic spirit that exists within The Third Ward. We believe year-round live music venues will only enhance the experiences the neighborhood can offer.
  • Easy access from the freeway system and the nearby businesses including restaurants, bars, hotels and retailers.
  • The Board of Harbor Commissioners has been encouraging Summerfest to facilitate more year-round activity in this area. Our venue complex will be well-fit to meet those expectations.
  • The Third Ward is a unique intermingled blend of land uses, including warehouse, industrial, office, retail, hospitality, educational, cultural, residential, and parks.
  • The Third Ward is one of the most vibrant arts neighborhoods in the country. It hosts major arts-driven events and programming year-round and also features an opera house and theatre.

How tall is the building?
3 stories tall, at 57 feet.

Is this the final design of the building?
What we have presented publicly is an initial design that currently is undergoing refinement. Our final project is subject to approval by the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board and we continue to solicit feedback from the neighborhood as we refine the design.

What is the approval process for this development project?
The project requires several approvals or permissions in order to be built as currently envisioned. The development will require a Certificate of Appropriateness from The Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board regarding the architectural design, materials, and other design aspects of the project. We expect to present several additional iterations of the project to the ARB in the coming months. In order to have the building facing and opening to the east, as presented, the project will require an easement to be granted by the Milwaukee Board of Harbor Commissioners. We are working through the easement process now and anticipate presenting to the Board in April. The venues will also require appropriate business licenses in order to operate; these licenses will be applied for in due course.

What is the land deal for this project?
The land is owned by Milwaukee World Festival and will be leased for the purposes of constructing the two-venue project. Marquee Ventures, LLC, a single-purpose real estate development company affiliated with Frank Productions, will build the project and then lease the building to FPC Live for operations.

Are there plans for the building to be environmentally friendly?
The plans so far presented to the general public are not finalized as we are still in the planning stages of our development. FPC Live is committed to minimizing the environmental impact our venues have, and we are continually researching into options that make our proposed building more environmentally friendly.

Will there be future development on adjacent sites?
There is substantial development opportunity in the area adjacent to and near our site, and we expect our project will catalyze additional projects in the Third Ward. Communities across the globe have experienced an increase in infill development after the construction of a concert or event facility, adding to the depth, breadth, vibrancy, and vitality of a neighborhood, city, and community.

In Madison, The Sylvee was built on a surface parking lot; since then, offices, event spaces, bars/restaurants, residential units, and hotel projects have been launched and opened. 

Will this be built with union jobs?
The majority of the construction of the building will use union labor.

Security, Quality of Life, and Crime, Fear, Disorder

We are concerned about the increases in crime, fear and disorder that will occur due to building this new venue complex.
Buildings that are built and managed well become gems in their community. Research shows that when vacant and passive spaces are activated, unwanted behavior decreases. The spaces around our current locations have not experienced increases in crime or disorder related to our events. With professional security staff and frequent activation of what are currently empty parking lots for almost the entire year, there will be more eyes on the neighborhood and more legitimate, Third Ward friendly activity throughout the year.

We have a responsibility as a business to plan, prevent and manage issues, reducing friction for our community, neighbors, artists, and their fans. We have accomplished this with our existing venues, and we are well underway with our plans to continue our strong, high-quality reputation in Milwaukee.

How will you manage loitering?
Throughout event days, our teams are continuously monitoring the venues externally and internally. This process does not allow individuals without a purpose to loiter around the property. After an event is over, crowds dissipate quickly, and our staff ensures fans have safely exited the building and are not loitering.

How will you manage littering?
Our pre-event and post-event checks around the property include ensuring our spaces are clean of litter. Our staff addresses any trash or issues that need to be cleaned up as their event duties.

How are you working with the Milwaukee Police Department?
FPC Live works with law enforcement agencies across the country, and our staff has years of experience in working with the Milwaukee Police Department as well. We have met and will continue to meet with representatives from the Milwaukee Police Department as part of our planning process. By the time of our planned opening in late 2023, we will have robust, thorough and mutually agreeable plans regarding all aspects of our operations.

Can you describe the security for your events?
Our safety priorities and commitments are set with our attendees, our artists, and our staff in mind. Throughout event days, our teams are continuously monitoring the property externally and internally. Fans must enter through our secure entrances which include going through metal detectors and bag checks. All our venues have a prohibited list of items which are searched for when fans come through security screening. We are developing a specific security plan for the safe operations of the complex.

On non-event days, our teams will be monitoring our facilities both in-person and by use of state-of-the-art surveillance systems that are now commonplace in society.

Noise

Will the music be loud outside of the building?
No. The building is designed specifically to mitigate concert noise from escaping the building. The Sylvee, our new-construction development in Madison, is built into an office tower with commercial and retail neighbors – including Frank Productions’ own office – abutting the venue itself.

Will there be lots of noise with loading trucks arriving at the facility at all hours?
Our teams purposefully schedule deliveries to be within short windows of time during business hours. Vehicles related to events typically arrive 8AM-9AM and some will back into the enclosed loading dock upon arrival. Load out occurs after the show. Erie Street will not be used by for vehicle loading during events.

How will you manage crowd noise before and after your events?
There are a handful of events that fans want to line up early for. When these fans do arrive early, they come prepared with food, beverages, and things to do while they wait. They are not loud and disruptive. On event dates, our teams are onsite to manage the event, which includes managing the external crowd leading to doors opening.

After an event is over, crowds dissipate quickly, and our staff ensures fans have safely exited the building and are not loitering.

Transportation, Traffic & Parking

How do I get to the venue complex?
Like other concert venues in a downtown area, fans can walk, bike, drive, utilize ride share services, or other public transportation options. 

What public transportation will be available?
Our development location offers limited public transportation drop-off options; however, fans can use the public options to be dropped off at a nearby location and walk, bike, or utilize ride share to get to the show.

What parking and how many spots are available?
FPC Live is working with the Milwaukee World Festival team on the management of paid parking options in the lots between the building and the amphitheater. One of the unique factors of this site is the access to more than sufficient parking directly adjacent to the venues.

How will neighbors parking be impacted? Are visitors going to take up all the public parking spaces on Erie, Jackson and other nearby streets?
While we believe that fans will prefer the more convenient parking option near the entry doors, FPC Live is committed to researching all options to decrease the impact of fans taking the public spaces on Erie, Jackson, and other nearby streets.

How will you direct traffic before and after events?
Given the uniquely controllable access to and from the site, vehicle traffic will be directed to use Summerfest Place and Lincoln Memorial Drive to access the large surface lots to the east of the project’s front doors. One goal is to minimize the impact of event traffic on Erie Street, along with the broader goals of facilitating easy and safe ingress and egress. A combination of signage, barricades, and traffic staffing will be utilized. If extra duty police assistance is required, we will follow the proper procedures for securing and paying for these services.

Please note that this FAQ will be updated as the project continues to develop and is subject to change.


DEC 30, 2021: FPC Live Hosting Public Input Sessions on Jan. 11th and 18th


DEC 2, 2021: FPC LIVE ANNOUNCES NEW TWO-VENUE COMPLEX IN MILWAUKEE

MILWAUKEE, WI – December 2, 2021 Wisconsin-based promoter and venue operator FPC Live has announced its involvement in plans for a new indoor venue complex in Milwaukee, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin early next year. The two-venue project, with scalable capacities of up to 800 and 4000, will be developed on an existing surface lot adjacent to Henry Maier Festival Park and will host a variety of concerts and events year-round. The project will be developed and owned by Marquee Ventures, LLC, a third-party development company, and leased to and operated by FPC Live. The proposed site is owned by Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., and will be leased to Marquee Ventures pursuant to a long-term ground lease. The proposed location will further crystalize the Third Ward as a live music and entertainment hub for the region.

“Having venues of this caliber will make Milwaukee a must-play destination for all artists both at the developing level and those on the verge of playing arenas, amphitheaters, and stadiums,” said Charlie Goldstone, one of the Presidents of FPC Live. “We are excited to add these rooms to the city, connecting more artists to more fans in Milwaukee.”

FPC Live and Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. already enjoy a successful and growing relationship focused on bringing world-class entertainment to the newly renovated American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Harris Pavilion throughout the summer, both before and after Summerfest.

“We are thrilled to extend our partnership with FPC Live to increase access to live entertainment year round,” said Don Smiley, President & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “Music fans are familiar with visiting the lakefront to see their favorite artists; these new venues will extend that experience.”

These new state of the art venues will provide first-class experiences and amenities for both patrons and touring artists that will be unmatched by any other venue of their size in the Midwest. As this project is publicly rolled-out, FPC Live is excited to directly engage with neighbors and other stakeholders in a dialogue about the vision and values of this development. Construction is slated to begin in early 2022 with the rooms projected to open after Summerfest 2023, pending necessary approvals.

About FPC Live
FPC Live is a Madison-based full-service concert promotion and venue operations company. As part of Frank Productions, FPC Live operates the company’s owned-and-operated venues and creates, produces and promotes live entertainment events in clubs, arenas, performing arts centers, amphitheaters and stadiums across the country.

As Wisconsin’s largest concert promoter, FPC Live, alongside parent company Frank Productions and its joint venture partner, Live Nation, produce nearly 550 events annually in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. FPC Live is one of the top 10 promoters in the world, producing concerts throughout the Midwest as well as tours across North America. FPC Live currently owns/operates four venues in Madison, WI (The Sylvee, Orpheum Theater, Majestic Theatre, and High Noon Saloon), two venues in Charleston, SC (Charleston Music Hall and Music Farm), and two venues in Columbia, MO (The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall). For additional information, visit fpc-live.com.

About Frank Productions
Founded in 1964, Frank Productions started as a family-run, full-service concert promotion company in Madison, WI. Frank Productions now offers executive management, administration, accounting, contract oversight, sales, box office and back-of-house support to their two national brands, National Shows 2 and FPC Live. In 2018 Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s leading live entertainment company, acquired a majority interest in Frank Productions. Through this partnership, the companies have blended the independent spirit of Frank Productions with the breadth of Live Nation’s resources to enhance the live music experience for artists and fans throughout the country. For additional information, visit frankproductions.com.

FPC Live Contacts
Charlie Goldstone, President
charlie@fpc-live.com
(608) 729-3639

Scott Leslie, President
scott@fpc-live.com
(608) 729-7158