MSO nets $11.1 million in state historic tax credits for new performance hall

Planning renovation and expansion of Warner Grand Theatre

Rendering of the new Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert hall planned at the Warner Grand Theatre.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has been approved for nearly $11.1 million in state historic preservation tax credits for its planned $80 million redevelopment of the former Warner Grand Theatre building in downtown Milwaukee.

MSO acquired the 13-story building at 212 W. West Wisconsin Ave. in December with plans to convert it into its new rehearsal and performance space.

MSO plans to finance the project, in part, with $17 million in federal and state tax credits, according to a recent Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. report. MSO has also secured $21 million in private contributions and $48.7 million of private contributions are pending, the report said.

In December, the MSO said it had raised $93.5 million for a $120 million fundraising campaign for the project and for an endowment for the symphony.

The project will include the renovation of the 87-year-old theater, lobby and concourses. Plans also call for an expansion of the theater to the north to provide more space for dressing rooms, loading docks and other back-of-house uses. To accommodate the expansion, MSO plans to purchase a portion of 215 W. Wells St. and 735 N. 2nd St. from MVP Milwaukee Wells, LLC, a Nevada-based parking lot operator.

The land sale has been approved by the Redevelopment Authority and will be considered by the Common Council in May.

The opening of the renovated theater, which will be called the Milwaukee Symphony Center, is expected for the fall of 2020.

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