'It's unique:' Milwaukee is 35 feet closer to having new home for Symphony Orchestra

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee became 35 feet closer to having a new home for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as the process of moving an historic wall across 2nd Street began on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

At 86 feet tall, 100 feet long, and 1.2 million pounds, moving the terracotta wall was a slow task.

"It's unique," said Cory Henschel, project executive. "I can't say I'll ever see this again in my career."

It took four years of planning to get to this point -- all to save a wall built in the 1930s.

"I believe we're doing a great job protecting the historic fabric of the building," said Mark Niehaus, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra president.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is turning the old Warner Theater into its new home. The building needed to expand so that the stage could fit an orchestra. Niehaus said the new space will become an important part of Milwaukee culture.

"We now have a dedicated concert hall for live music, with amazing acoustics, and it's a home for the symphony, but it's also a home for music in Milwaukee," said Niehaus.

Grand Theater wall

Saving the wall was a requirement for the orchestra to keep its historic tax credits. Niehaus said it's well worth the effort.

''Our goal is that you come here in the fall of 2020 and have an experience as if you were in 1930 in the theater, as it originally existed," said Niehaus.

CLICK HERE to view architectural renderings of the new Milwaukee Symphony Center

The goal is for the building to open in fall 2020. The construction companies scheduled two days to complete the wall's move.