Milwaukee raises $106m for new hall, now needs more

The Milwaukee Symphony has quietly drummed up $106 million for a new concert hall (below), only to find that the cost estimate has risen to $139 million.

They’ll get there, we feel sure.


Much faster than the London Symphony Orchestra, which has talked big about a new hall and not raised a penny.


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  • When they get to $139M… they’ll find out it’s really $172M and that won’t stop until the thing opens.

  • $139 million for a concert hall seems pretty cheap these days. Anyway, the Milwaukee SO is a terrific orchestra and it would nice for them to have a good home. I wonder if the city is pitching in as much as they did for the Bucks’ new arena (probably not; they can’t really threaten to leave town).

  • In an era when a new high school building seems to cost upwards of $300million, $139million for a concert hall somehow feels like value for money. The real questions are how long will it take to construct, and how bad will the acoustics be? That high school project is scheduled for five (5!) years.

    One used to be able to tear down an existing office tower, drive a new steel foundation, put up a new office tower, furnish it, rent it, and hold the bankruptcy auction, all in less than a year.

  • They’re not building a new concert hall, but renovating and expanding the stage area (into the adjacent street) of an existing theatre. This has been done in a number of American cities, such as St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, with reasonable success. I’ve been in the existing Uihlein Hall, and it’s not awful, but the Symphony would prefer a venue that it owns and controls rather than one in which they are a tenant.

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