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“Engine for future growth:” Milwaukee Bucks, design team release vision for new multi-purpose arena

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MILWAUKEE (WITI/AP) -- Calling it "a very, very exciting day," the Milwaukee Bucks and its design team released on Wednesday, April 8th, the first images and details of their vision for the development of a new multi-purpose, $500 million arena and another $500 million sports and entertainment district to help revitalize downtown Milwaukee.

Officials say the images depict early conceptual drawings of a new multi-purpose venue and entertainment district that anchor an ambitious new development vision activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses.

"You're talking about an entertainment center that would draw near two million people downtown," Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy said.

The plans are preliminary and admittedly expensive, but nonetheless eye-opening.

"The most common theme from everyone is we're going to make this work," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

•The arena and entertainment live block anchor an ambitious new vision activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses.  •Fronting existing Fourth Street and proximate to Old World Third Street, the site connects to the greater Milwaukee community including across the Milwaukee river to the vibrant downtown core.

• The arena and entertainment live block anchor an ambitious new vision activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses.
• Fronting existing Fourth Street and proximate to Old World Third Street, the site connects to the greater Milwaukee community including across the Milwaukee river to the vibrant downtown core.

The proposed site, which primarily sits between Fourth Street and Sixth Street from State Street to McKinley Avenue, will link with active development on all sides, including Old World Third Street, Schlitz Park, The Brewery, the Milwaukee riverfront, Water Street and the Wisconsin Center.

The Bucks and their developers say the vision is for a 700,000 square foot, 17,000 seat arena designed for maximum flexibility and year-round use. The design is complete with a public plaza and to the west, a Milwaukee Bucks practice facility. Officials say an entertainment district will serve as a destination that draws the people of the region together for unforgettable experiences and a place people will love to gather for generations to come.

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Mike Fascitelli said the new facility will be an "engine for future growth in Milwaukee."

•The arena design evokes Wisconsin’s natural beauty and Milwaukee’s rich heritage of industry and craftsmen, with expressive structure, transparency and fluid forms inspired by the rivers, lakes and forests of the region. •A diverse material palette includes warmth and color, reflecting the region’s natural beauty. Selectively placed glass and moments of transparency throughout the building open views from within to Milwaukee’s skyline.

• The arena design evokes Wisconsin’s natural beauty and Milwaukee’s rich heritage of industry and craftsmen, with expressive structure, transparency and fluid forms inspired by the rivers, lakes and forests of the region.
• A diverse material palette includes warmth and color, reflecting the region’s natural beauty. Selectively placed glass and moments of transparency throughout the building open views from within to Milwaukee’s skyline.

The Bucks recently announced the hiring of Populous to lead a group of prominent global, national and local architects including HNTB and Eppstein Uhen.

How the arena would be paid for is still up in the air. It is projected to cost $500 million. There are a number of options on the table for financing. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the city and county are willing to provide a combined $50 million in funding. Proposals from the state range from $150 million to $220 million. Former Bucks owner Herb Kohl has pledged $100 million, and the current owners have pledged $150 million.

"We are in a deep partnership with the city, with the county and with the state. We continue to work hand-in-hand to work on solutions and continue to work together and we want to accelerate the growth of this city in a very big way," Bucks President Peter Feigin said.

•The arena arrival experience is augmented by a transparent façade that marks the front door and monumental atrium within.  •The dynamic entertainment live block will serve as both arena forecourt and community living room. This will be the year round destination that draws the people of the region together for unforgettable experiences and a place people will love to gather for generations to come.

• The arena arrival experience is augmented by a transparent façade that marks the front door and monumental atrium within.
• The dynamic entertainment live block will serve as both arena forecourt and community living room. This will be the year round destination that draws the people of the region together for unforgettable experiences and a place people will love to gather for generations to come.

In this story

The Bucks owners on Wednesday talked about their plans for 30 acres of largely vacant land adjacent to the existing arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which opened in 1988. The proposed plan by owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan would demolish the current BMO Harris Bradley Center arena to make room.

When would this arena concept begin to get built? Officials say if all comes together, there could be shovels in the ground by early fall 2015. The goal is to be open for the 2017 NBA season -- assuming all goes well with the two-year construction plan.

"If we went with best laid plans and we had a state budget ratified latest June 30th, we'd look to get a shovel in the ground by early fall," Feigin said.

"The team is young. The team is growing. The team is young and exciting and much improved from last year. Its prospects are terrific with young players. We envision a new practice center. We believe it's an unbelievable boon for the city, the state and great for the Bucks too," Fascitelli said.

Bucks owners and the development team toured the country to get ideas for this project.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has issued this statement:

“Adding a world-class venue and more mixed-use development to the momentum we’re seeing in and around downtown is very exciting. The benefits to the state, the region and Milwaukee in terms of jobs, attracting investment and growing the tax base are key ingredients.  That’s why I continue to support the Governor’s plan.  I appreciate the efforts of all the interested parties to step up and continue working to make this project a reality.”

Marc Marotta, Chairman of the BMO Harris Bradley Center Board of Directors, released the following statement regarding the vacant property the Center owns north of the current facility:

"The Milwaukee Bucks have informed the BMO Harris Bradley Center Board that the team is interested in locating the new multipurpose entertainment facility on open land north of the current BMO Harris Bradley Center building. This land is currently used primarily for parking and includes property the BMO Harris Bradley Center Board has assembled over the last decade with an eye toward the future. It would appear that the foresight of previous boards and the current board was right on target.

"We are excited about working with the Milwaukee Bucks, state and local officials and others, and we look forward to assisting in whatever way we can. It is great to see the team’s vision for the future begin to take shape, and I am confident that our Board will work hard to find the right way to properly convey this property to whatever the appropriate entity might be after more of the details are finalized.

"In the meantime, our Board will continue to do what is best for the community, and that includes maintaining the current BMO Harris Bradley Center as the focal point of the Downtown entertainment scene. Our Board is committed to working with the Bucks and others on making the dream of a new Downtown multipurpose entertainment facility that benefits the entire region and the state a reality.

"Our Board stands ready to move forward."

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

23 comments

  • R

    Oh, I’m glad old TROLLEY FOLLEY BARRETT is coming up with the LEAST AMOUNT OF MONEY on a DOWNTOWN MILWAUKEE ARENA. Let everyone else do the heavy lifting, and wait in the shadows?

    CHOO CHOO, MAYOR BARRETT

  • MyMan

    Here’s an idea, tear down Miller Park, send the Brewers out of town and build the new arena whereCounty Stadium once stood proud

    • Cheri

      Best Idea I’ve heard yet! Plus way more parking. You know this is going to cause a huge parking problem for MATC students who already get ripped-off on a daily basis from the selfish trolls that run the Bradley Center parking garage.. I had parked there for around 10 minutes or less before I found out my class was cancelled and they charged me $20 for that 10 minutes instead of giving a student a break or discounted student rate. This was some years ago and I’m betting the rate is higher now.

  • CHOKING TAXPAYER

    Get ready for your tax bills to increase from 12k to 15k for your 200k homes. New trolley, new arena, stadium still not paid for, too much crime so no tax base…LOL.

    • ltdarkstar

      Welcome to the new Detroit! Maybe in a few years after they realized what they did they will declare bankruptcy too.

  • Rob

    Looking at the big picture this will be good for building Milwaukee up. A multi-purpose arena of this caliber is very well needed here in hoped of using this as a stepping stone to build the city up. Yes taxes may increase, but in my opinion it will be worth in just because of the many opportunities this will create for business owners, potential business owners, and the jobs and housing this will ultimately create. The results may not come as fast as people may like to see, but over the long term things will get better, and hopefully a stipulation of this new arena is for the inner city of Milwaukee to be built up as well such as the roads, our school systems, and housing.

    • von

      Is marijuana legal now in Wisconsin? Because that’s gotta be what your smoking Rob if you really believe that!

    • Mr. Bob

      ROB you are indeed delusional. You are way past just taking off your rose-colored glasses. You need some serious help!!! Good luck.

  • von

    The Grand Avenue Mall was supposed to spur revitalization in downtown, The casino the same for the valley. Now we hear this new arena will do the same for the area next to a crummy neighborhood. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Fool me thrice………

  • Peanut

    ummm, wheres the additional ~$600million coming from? I mean, I like the general idea and location, I agree that it would be good for the city because it would expand the downtown area a little bit and that should provide a (small) boost in taxes for the city buuuuuuut a $1,000,000,000 plan for a city of ~1,000,000… who is going to throw their money down that pit? better not be the taxpayer.

    • Mr. Bob

      Peanut read this: According to Wisconsin Department of Administration (WisDOA) projections, Milwaukee’s population will continue to grow slightly in coming years. Between 2000 and 2025, WisDOA forecasts that Milwaukee’s population will increase by 4.3% to approximately 623,000. Natural increase (births minus deaths) and in-migration by the Hispanic population account for much of the expected increase. The city does not have anywhere near 1 million residents.

      • Peanut

        I’m sorry, I should have clarified that I generally consider all of Milwaukee County to be the city. Sorry to everyone who lives in stallis and Wauwatosa and so on, but I’d argue that inner city development is more beneficial to the near suburbs than continuing the trend of all development outside of the city/county. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that that means they (or anyone other than the team & those who support it) should have to pay taxes for this monstrosity.

    • ltdarkstar

      The money will be “milked” from the MATC students as it has been for years paying for overpriced parking. Thanks FOX6 you nazipiecesofshiat for removing my previous post on this, I guess I’m not Democratic for your narrowminded libtardness.

  • Mr. Bob

    Officials say the images depict early conceptual drawings of a new multi-purpose venue and entertainment district that anchor an ambitious new development vision activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses. Get that, conceptual drawings?? This is all smoke and mirrors because they know there isn’t going to be enough public money coming and then they will just leave town. All this time and you only have conceptual drawings and we are to believe that somehow shovels could be in the ground by fall??? BS that’s all this is folks. Now get your snake oil as_es out of town and find someone else to finance YOUR building!!!

  • GRANNY SMITH APPLE

    The apple doesn’t fall from the tree when it comes to taxing the people for venues that can’t afford anyways. what? $400 to get to a bucks game with parking and some snacks for a family of 4… or is that understated.. Build it and they will come doesn’t jive anymore. NOW if they plant apple trees along every street I may consider donating a $1.

    • Peanut

      heh, those would be some gross apples and that would add another headache to parking in the city, i wish they would replant all the elm trees they cut down years ago though

      • Mr. Bob

        Sorry peanut, mayor mccheese is using those funds to pay for that fancy trolley of his, no money for trees but plenty of money for trolleys!!!

  • Erin

    It’s not even that much bigger than the bradley center…how will we house the bigger events..like final fours, supercross..it will basically just be new

  • chris

    Better keep the darkies in check or else your billion dollar downtown project will be nothing more than a new place to do some shootin’ thuggin’ and robbin’.

  • GRANNY SMITH APPLE

    We can just remove the inner city and just build the arena with any taxpayers that are left…imagine paying 34k for taxes a year to have your garbage collected….on top of the stadium tax that STILL IS ACTIVE AND COUNTIES OTHER THAN MILWAUKEE ARE STILL PAYING FOR IT. Sorry this doesn’t sound like a good business plan.. I would recommend that it would be rejected in the strongest terms. Forget the apple tree’s.

Comments are closed.