Sophie Bolich

Pabst Theater Group to Buy Villa Filomena

The group, which operates five other venues in Milwaukee, aims to create a private event venue in a historic mansion

By - Jun 17th, 2022 10:26 am
Villa Filomena. Photo taken June 16, 2022 by Graham Kilmer.

Villa Filomena. Photo taken June 16, 2022 by Graham Kilmer.

The Pabst Theater Group (PTG) has plans for a new venue, but it appears to be more about saying ‘I do’ than singing along to your favorite song.

PTG is seeking to buy and operate Villa Filomena, the historic-mansion-turned-event-venue located at 1119 N. Marshall St., with plans for a private event space. A recent liquor license application notes plans to host live bands, DJs and comedy acts starting July 15. The venue is currently used primarily for weddings.

PTG currently hosts weddings at Turner Hall Ballroom, but doesn’t own the event space. It also offers private events at its other venues.

Nestled in the Yankee Hill neighborhood on the northeastern corner of Downtown, the Italianate-style building was constructed in 1874 as a private residence for Robert Patrick Fitzgerald. In 1968, the building was designated a Milwaukee landmark. The current owners, married couple Anthony and Janice Sanfilippo, bought the 8,752 square-foot building, which is now valued at $739,400, in 2004.

The current operators have been subject to multiple contentious license rule hearings.

PTG’s current roster includes five venues: the Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, Back Room @ Colectivo and the newly-added Miller High Life Theatre. The group, led by Gary Witt, recently took over booking and operations for the 4,087-seat venue. PTG is also a partner in an effort to create a 3,500-person venue as part of the multi-use development planned for downtown Milwaukee called the Iron District.

A representative from PTG declined to comment.

After this article was published, PTG said:

“We are interested in acquiring the Villa Filomena and are currently in the due diligence phase. Upon completion, we are looking forward to having a presence in the venue, another historic Milwaukee building, and honoring the history of the space as we continue to grow our thriving private events and wedding business.”

A liquor license request is pending before the Common Council.

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