MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin was the featured guest at the Milwaukee Press Club and Rotary Club of Milwaukee's Newsmaker Luncheon on Tuesday, September 29th -- and he provided an update on the Bucks new arena project in downtown Milwaukee. This, one week after Milwaukee's Common Council approved the funding plan for the arena project.
Feigin says a team of "more consultants than you could ever imagine" is currently trying to determine the most efficient way to get started on arena construction as quickly as possible.
"We're really at the partnership phase with government to really build this," Feigin said.
The Bucks have planned a $500 million arena, and $500 million sports and entertainment district surrounding that arena.
The city's share in the Bucks funding package is $47 million, out of the $250 million in public money going towards the new arena.
Under the agreement, current and former Bucks owners will pay $250 million toward the $500 million cost of the arena. While the taxpayers’ sticker prices is $250 million, the actual cost is closer to $400 million when you factor in interest: $80 million each from the state and Milwaukee County, $47 million from the city and $200 million from the Wisconsin Center District.
"I will tell you, what we will not do is open an arena, or open a district or center that is not perfect," Feigin said.
Feigin says he cannot provide groundbreaking or completion dates for the arena project at this time -- but Feigin said the goal is to have heavy equipment on site sometime during the first quarter of 2016.
"We hope to be able to start really submitting some plans to the city for permitting and zoning within the next 30 to 60 days," Feigin said.
Feigin says once the heavy equipment is in place, the construction work will take place on parallel paths.
"We have a parking structure on the Park East, we have a plaza, we have an arena, and we have the demotion of a parking structure happening at the same time," Feigin said.
Feigin says the hope is that construction will take two years.
"Everything has to go right to get this built in 24 months. Will everything go right? We hope so," Feigin said.
Land in Milwaukee's Park East Corridor was sold to the Milwaukee Bucks for $1. That land won't hold the arena itself -- but it is the proposed site for the team's new practice facility, as well as new apartments, office space and even a grocery store.
That land must be prepared for construction. According to county documents, the Bucks will have to remove more than 150 old footings from the Park East freeway spur.
Additionally, one of the controversies still looming involves 4th Street -- and whether part of the street should be closed to traffic during games, or permanently, to become part of a public plaza near the arena.
Aldermen rejected a plan to hand over a portion of 4th Street to the Bucks to create a pedestrian walkway. That issue has been tabled for now.