Concert venue

Proposed site for concert hall near Summerfest faces uncertain zoning

A portion of Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward where a new concert hall is proposed is facing possible rezoning.

But this action, which requires Common Council approval, would not affect the controversial indoor concert center proposed by FPC Live.

That’s because plans for this site were filed with the city in December as part of the site’s current zoning.

Meanwhile, Ald. Robert Bauman, whose district includes the Third Ward and who applied for rezoning, is now considering withdrawing that application.

There’s “too much fuss” about the rezoning proposal even though it won’t affect the FPC Live project, Bauman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“It’s not worth it,” Bauman said in an email.

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It amounts to a “last-minute U-turn,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, chair of the Planning Commission, which was due to consider the rezoning proposal at its meeting on Monday.

“It’s a bit of an unusual situation,” Bloomingdale said before the committee voted to delay implementing the proposal.

FPC Live wants to develop the facility, which would include two separate concert halls, on vacant land south of the offices of Summerfest operator Milwaukee World Festival Inc., 639 E. Summerfest Place.

These plans are met with opposition from nearby condo owners as well as rival site operators.

Under grandfathered zoning, the FPC Live proposal does not require review by the Plan Commission and Common Council.

However, these plans will need to be approved by the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board, where the proposal is pending.

The proposed rezoning covers the future FPC Live site as well as other parcels nearby.

It changes the zoning from mixed industrial to downtown – mixed activity.

This last district is already in place for most of the third district. It is designed “to enable a wide range of retail, service, light manufacturing and residential uses,” according to the city’s Development Department.

Notices about the proposed rezoning have raised questions from Third Ward residents, said Sam Leichtling of the city’s Development Department.

That led Bauman to ask for a delay in considering the change, Leichtling told committee members.

“I am considering canceling the filing entirely and leaving all zoning exactly as it is now,” Bauman told Leichtling in an email filed Friday with the Planning Commission.

The commission also delayed action on another draft ordinance initiated by Bauman.

Theaters with a capacity of more than 2,000 would need to obtain a special use permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals – an independent municipal committee.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.