Affordable apartments part of downtown's proposed soccer stadium, concert venue project would get $1.8 million in city financing under plan

Affordable apartments that are part of the proposed Iron District development are planned for the southwest corner of West Michigan and North Ninth streets.
Affordable apartments that are part of the proposed Iron District development are planned for the southwest corner of West Michigan and North Ninth streets.

Affordable apartments that are part of downtown Milwaukee's planned Iron District development would get $1.8 million in city financing under a new proposal.

The 99-unit Michigan Street Commons apartments would be on the western portion of the Iron District. That 11-acre site is bordered by North Sixth Street to the east, West Michigan Street to the north, and the I-794/I-43 interchange to the west and south.

More: A new concert venue, hotel and professional soccer stadium are planned for downtown Milwaukee's west side

The Iron District plans include a new concert venue, hotel and professional soccer stadium — the last of which also might seek public financing.

Bear Development LLC, which is developing the Iron District with Kacmarcik Enterprises LLC, is asking the Common Council to create a tax incremental financing district for Michigan Street Commons.

That's according to a public hearing notice posted Thursday by the city Redevelopment Authority. The authority's board is to review that TIF proposal at its June 16 meeting.

The tax financing district would allow Bear Development to receive $1.8 million through annual cash grants, according to the notice.

Those grants would come from property tax revenue generated by Michigan Street Commons, which has a $27.5 million cost estimate.

More: Milwaukee-area communities are using tax incremental financing more than ever to fund developments, but not everyone likes it

Michigan Street Commons' financing package includes federal affordable housing tax credits.

Developers that receive tax credits must generally provide at least 85% of a building's apartments at below-market rents to people earning no higher than 80% of the local median income.

Bear Development plans to build the five-story apartment building, which includes underground parking and street-level commercial space, at the southwest corner of North Ninth and West Michigan streets, according to the hearing notice.

Additional details on the TIF proposal weren't immediately available.

Meanwhile, the developers might seek additional public financing for Iron District.

Urban Milwaukee is reporting the soccer stadium will need a public subsidy.

The publication quotes S.R. Mills, Bear Development's chief executive officer, as saying the stadium has a $40 million cost estimate. The entire Iron District cost estimate is $160 million.

Mills couldn't be immediately reached for more information.

A Department of City Development report on the Michigan Street Commons TIF plan hasn't yet been completed, a department spokesman said.

Ald. Robert Bauman, whose district includes downtown, told the Journal Sentinel he supports the Michigan Street Commons TIF plan. Bauman said he hasn't heard any discussion of a possible subsidy for the soccer stadium.

The 8,000-seat soccer stadium is to host a professional soccer team that Kacmarcik Enterprises owner Jim Kacmarcik plans to bring to Milwaukee.

More information about that team and its league affiliation are to be announced soon.

The stadium also would host Marquette University's men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams as well as community events, recreational programs and other athletic uses. Those Marquette teams now play at the university's Valley Fields facility, where they will continue to practice.

The new soccer field, featuring a synthetic turf surface, would be used from March through November, hosting approximately 200 events.

Kacmarcik, president of Kapco Inc., a Grafton-based metal fabricating and stamping company, has invested in other sports and entertainment businesses, including serving as lead owner of Forward Madison FC, Madison’s USL League One franchise.

A USL franchise, which is a notch below Major League Soccer, would be a big boost to Milwaukee's soccer scene, which now features The Wave, an indoor team that plays in the Major Arena Soccer League.

Pabst Theater Group, which counts downtown's Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, Miller High Life Theatre and Turner Hall Ballroom among its concert halls, is to operate the new development's 3,500-seat indoor entertainment venue.

The venue's other operator would be a large global concert promoter whose identity hasn't yet been disclosed by the developers.

The facility will host national touring acts 80 to 100 nights a year and more than 300 events a year in total.

The new Pabst concert venue would be attached to a nine-story, 140-room hotel.

The developers are buying the site from Marquette University. The site includes a large vacant lot as well as the former Ramada Hotel and two office buildings, including one used by Marquette, that are to be demolished.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee soccer, venue project seeks funds for affordable apartments