Milwaukee Ballet Company plans new headquarters in Third Ward

Alderman was hoping for larger development on site

The Italian Community Center in the Third Ward.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm

The Milwaukee Ballet Company plans to build a one-story building, that will be approximately 40,000 square feet, in the city’s Historic Third Ward for its new headquarters, according to the Milwaukee alderman who represents the neighborhood.

Alderman Robert Bauman said he is underwhelmed by the project and was hoping for something larger at the Italian Community Center site, 631 E Chicago St.

“To me, they are under-developing the site for the most dynamic neighborhood in Milwaukee,” said Bauman, who says he has not seen renderings of the project, but who has spoken to project developer Michael DeMichele.

Members of the Italian Community Center voted last week to sell a 1.8-acre parcel in the southwestern corner of the ICC’s parking lot to the Ballet for $2.4 million, according to a report broken by BizTimes Milwaukee partner

Italian Community Center ICC
The Italian Community Center in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

Joe Vella, president of the ICC, said the Ballet approached the ICC to purchase the parcel for a new facility that would be used for performances and to teach ballet. Vella said the ICC is not considering selling any other parcels at this time.

But Baumann said major performances for the Ballet would continue to be held at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts downtown.

The Ballet has not responded to requests for comment and DeMichele could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Milwaukee Ballet’s offices are currently located at 504 W. National Ave., in the city’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.

The Ballet’s plans will have to go before the Third Ward’s Architectural Review Board, which Bauman is a member. From there, Bauman believes the project could be built by right and would not require a zoning change through the city.

“My initial impressions might go away once all of the details are disclosed, but considering how much Third Ward development is in demand and residential development is in demand, a one-story building seems to be on the diminutive side,” Bauman said.

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