Controversy brewing over proposed music venue near Milwaukee's Summerfest grounds

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Controversy is brewing in the Third Ward. A proposed music venue for Milwaukee has some music lovers hoping it doesn't happen.

The venue's a deal by FPC Live, which falls under one of the world's largest concert promoters, slated to be adjacent to the Summerfest grounds. That's got neighbors pressing city leaders to stop the deal.

"Let's slow this process down," said Third Ward resident Dave Hock. "And let's take a good, hard look at it. Once this is approved, this isn't going away."

Harbor Front Landing Condos held a private meeting Wednesday night, Jan. 5, to inform owners of the venue expected to be constructed on this service lot. It's 1.25 acres just south of the Summerfest grounds. 

"We already have great local music venues, and why do we need another one that really is gonna be put in a place that does not accommodate large crowds of traffic?" asked Hock.

Hock moved here two years ago. He says it's one thing to be inconvenienced for a few weeks of Summerfest, but this venue would be year-round.

"When it jams up the traffic and the roads, it's really not good for the business owners. People will start to stay away from the Third Ward during concert nights," he said.

A rendering shows two separate entrances for spaces that would hold 800 guests on one side and 4,000 on the other. 

Some worry if that could destroy already-established venues.

"The music genre that they're going after is really covered very well by the Pabst, Riverside and The Rave, Turner Hall, so it's really not gonna bring any incremental music to Milwaukee," said Hock. 

The proposed site is owned by the parent company of Summerfest, which would lease the land. Don Smiley said they're thrilled to extend the partnership to increase access to live entertainment.

Condo owners are also expressing concern about safety, saying Milwaukee police send additional officers to Summerfest, but this wouldn't get that kind of attention.

FPC Live is hosting two upcoming public hearings on Jan. 11 and 18, at the Milwaukee Public Market or via zoom.

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