Jeramey Jannene

Former Machine Shop Is RNC Party Venue

Warehouse party for GOP conventioneers will take place nightly in Brewers Hill.

By - Jul 9th, 2024 12:46 pm
1929 N. Buffum St. Photo by Sophie Bolich.

1929 N. Buffum St. Photo by Sophie Bolich.

An unlikely building will place host to multiple nights of parties during the Republican National Convention.

A former machine shop in Brewers Hill is being transformed into a 20,000-square-foot entertainment venue for an “invitation-only event that hosts top government and political leaders,” according to the events production group planning it.

The warehouse, 1929 N. Buffum St., will be split into venues with stages and a VIP area on the second level. According to an email to the city, parties will occur for five straight days

The 5,700-square-foot primary venue will include a stage prepared for pyrotechnics, a DJ stand and a hanging Tesla coil. A second, 2,500-square-foot area will be separated from the primary venue by a “low fog pink hallway” and courtyard.

That’s according to the website of Declan Weir Productions, which is planning the “RNC Warehouse Party” an event that has been regularly held alongside the Republican conventions. “DWP has provided all event management and production management services to this client since 2000,” says the Declan website.

Sunday’s event is to occur from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., while parties will also occur the following four nights from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

An occupancy permit lists Tennessee-based Empirical Production Group as the requester. Milwaukee-based Zimmerman Architectural Studios is supervising the design. Build-out permit requests also cite Montana-based Warehouse Productions and Declan Weir.

In addition to the RNC warehouse party, Declan’s credits include several religious events. It also supported President George W. Bush‘s inauguration in 2000.

Substantial food and beverage, back-of-house production space and restroom infrastructure is also planned for the space.

Buffum Street will be closed between E. Brown Street and E. Reservoir Avenue during the events, according to a permit request.

A representative of Declan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A representative of Empirical Production said a different party may follow up.

Future of the Site

The site, which is just north of Downtown, isn’t likely to be available for a future convention party. It’s targeted for redevelopment as housing.

It was part of a two-block, $1.75 million acquisition in June 2023 by a partnership of Hempel Cos. and ICAP Development. The eastern block is vacant.

There are two industrial buildings on the western block: a one-story, 8,767-square-foot structure at 332 E. Reservoir Ave. and, the party building, a 41,792-square-foot structure located behind the smaller building. The buildings have 1920 and 1918 construction dates in city records.

The buildings were once part of Peterson Cutting Die Co., then Durant Manufacturing Co. (which was purchased by Cutler-Hammer), Optics for Industry and ultimately In-Place Machining.

An affiliate of In-Place and predecessor Optics for Industry assembled the development site, transferring it to Light Ray Development in 2004. Light Ray company’s registered agent is Daniel Eder, son of In-Place and Optics founder Ralph Eder. In-Place’s Milwaukee plant today is at 3811 N. Holton St. The company makes house calls for complicated jobs – like fixing ships as they float through the Panama Canal or emergency repairs at power plants.


If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

One thought on “Former Machine Shop Is RNC Party Venue”

  1. Franklin Furter says:

    Fascinating stuff! As fun as it might be to imagine something untoward, the RNC Warehouse Party is listed on the Declan Weir website portfolio page as a long-standing convention event. Security and privacy seem to be among chief concerns, aside from partying… 🙂

    I will be in bed all nights before 10:00pm.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us