Milwaukee will be home to the latest expansion of the country’s second-highest tier of professional soccer after an agreement between the ownership group and a professional soccer franchise. The agreement will secure plans for a proposed sports district, which includes an 8,000-seat stadium, to break ground in late fall.
Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development announced in May an agreement to buy 11 acres from Marquette University and build Iron District MKE, a sports and entertainment district south of Michigan Avenue and near the Interstate 794/I-43 interchange.
Kacmarcik, which owns the rights to United Soccer League Championship, made an agreement on Wednesday with its subsidiary and Milwaukee Pro Soccer to select the city as the next host for an incoming soccer team, developers said. The incoming stadium will serve as a home for the USL Championship franchise starting in 2025.
Construction is set to begin later this fall and crews will demolish the Ramada Inn at 633 W. Michigan St. The development includes the stadium, a hotel, a 140-unit multi-family housing project, retail and food businesses, the developer said. Plans also involve a 3,500-capacity indoor concert venue operated by the Pabst Theater Group.
“This is an announcement we’ve been working towards behind the scenes for years, and I’m thrilled to bring high-level professional soccer to the city of Milwaukee,” Kacmarcik Enterprises Chairman and CEO Jim Kacmarcik said. “Major cities have professional soccer clubs, and we’re proud to deliver that to Milwaukee – a premier sports city with a rich soccer culture that runs deep throughout our community.”
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the plans for a pro soccer team and the Iron District can influence the area, which the city is looking to invest in.
“In discussions with the developers for Iron District MKE and representatives from Milwaukee Pro Soccer, it’s clear that this group’s progressive and ambitious plans can have a transformative impact on an area of our city that needs this kind of investment,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “We are proud to welcome the USL Championship to Milwaukee.
The development will be bordered by North 6th Street to the east, North 10th Street to the west and West Michigan Street to the north. A public campaign will decide the club’s name, crest and colors.
The USL Championship enterprise is sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation and owns 27 clubs in major metro areas, including Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. Forward Madison FC, another Kacmarcik investment, is a USL League One club.