Marquette University in Milwaukee has sold an 11-acre parcel of land to Bear Development, which plans on building a new sports and entertainment district that will be anchored by an 8,000-seat soccer-specific stadium.

Bear Development will serve as the master developer for the project and will work alongside Kacmarcik Enterprises on the plans. The land was purchased by Marquette University in 2014 and 2015 and is located to the northeast of the Marquette Interchange.

The new stadium will serve as the home of a professional soccer club, with Jim Kacmarcik, owner of Kacmarcik Enterprises, planning on launching a team in the city. The stadium will also be used by the University’s soccer and lacrosse teams.

The wider complex will include an indoor concert venue, a full-service hotel, multi-family residential housing, retail spaces, and food and beverage outlets. It is hoped the development will play a key role in linking Marquette University with downtown Milwaukee, with the district projected to create hundreds of new jobs and draw a million annual visitors.

Developers will demolish a vacant hotel building which currently sits on the site. Marquette Today, the university’s student newspaper, said that Marquette would have no financial or controlling interests in the sports and entertainment district, and will instead be a lessee in the stadium.

The indoor arena will have a capacity of 3,500 and will be operated by Pabst Theater Group, which manages a number of local concert halls. Kacmarcik Enterprises said that Pabst Theater Group will be joined by “one of the world’s premier concert promoters”.

Marquette University president, Michael Lovell, said: “This new development reimagines and promises to bring new life into a highly visible strategic corridor, presenting an exceptional opportunity to connect the Marquette University campus and Westown neighbourhood with the Downtown Milwaukee renaissance.

“The economic revitalisation and community pride this multi-purpose development will catalyse is something I am proud Marquette can help facilitate through the strategic sale of this important parcel of land. I look forward to cheering on our men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer teams in their new competition venue.”

More details on Milwaukee’s planned soccer team are set to be released soon. Kacmarcik serves as the lead owner of Forward Madison FC, a USL League One franchise based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kacmarcik added: “Milwaukee is one of the great sports cities in the United States, and we are excited to bring professional outdoor soccer to the community.”

Images: Marquette University/Kahler Slater