MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks open a new season at home on Wednesday night, October 28th -- but it'll be another three years before the new Bucks arena opens in downtown Milwaukee. The hope had long been for the arena to be ready by 2017 -- but Bucks officials announced Tuesday that won't happen.
When you realize just how much more Bucks officials have to do just to get building permits, it becomes easy to see why they're pushing back the opening of the new arena to the 2018-2019 season.
David Litsheim and Tom Silverthorn say for Bucks fans, patience truly is a virtue.
"I`ve been through it since about `96 when I can remember growing up through the thick and thin," Tom Silverthorn said.
There was plenty of new things at the BMO Harris Bradley Center heading into Wednesday night's opener vs. New York -- a new Bucks logo, and a new court.
But a new Bucks arena will have to wait.
Bucks officials confirmed on Tuesday their goal is now for an arena grand opening for the 2018-2019 season.
"We realized 2017-18 just wasn`t realistic. It wasn`t gonna happen," Jake Suski, Milwaukee Bucks senior VP of communications said.
NBA officials confirm the Bucks have updated the league, saying this in a statement to FOX6 News:
“The team has advised us that, due to factors beyond their control, the completion date will be pushed back to the 2018-19 season. In light of their progress, we are comfortable with the revised timetable."
The NBA had set a deadline for the Milwaukee Bucks to build the new arena by 2017 -- or the Bucks would be moved from Milwaukee. But NBA officials said the Bucks would likely be granted a deadline extension by the if their project was already underway.
The new opening date isn't the only arena development this week.
The Milwaukee Bucks' ownership group submitted its first arena development plan to city of Milwaukee officials for review on Monday, October 26th. The plan lays out the $500 million arena, and surrounding $500 million sports and entertainment complex planned for downtown.
"I think as we get deeper into the details, we`ll have more to say -- but it`s another important step," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
The project involves a new six-story arena, and the BMO Harris Bradley Center will be demolished, along with its parking structure.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center property will be redeveloped, and this plan also calls for the redevelopment of land in Milwaukee's Park East corridor, which was sold to the Bucks for $1.
The blocks surrounding the arena would include offices, apartments, restaurants, retail, grocery, parking, and more.
According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the Bucks ownership group would lead the overall development, but plans to recruit other developers to participate on individual projects and buildings.
City approval for the overall plan is required before work can begin.
While general when it comes to the details of the buildings themselves, the plan gives an idea of what people downtown can expect to see as the project kicks off.
Construction for the sports and entertainment district would begin once the arena is complete. Work on the arena is expected to last into 2017, the Milwaukee Business Journal says.
The demolition of the Bradley Center would follow.
Plans for the site where the Bradley Center currently sits are noticeably vague, with buildings that could range from two to 20-stories tall. That's by design.
"Then it`s more organic instead of being rushed, and then it`s all this square feet added to the market that can`t be absorbed and then you got a lot of empty buildings," Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman said.
"We wanna make sure they have the flexibility to do what`s gonna be best economically and what`s gonna be best to unleash the potential of Milwaukee`s future," Suski said.
The last properties expected to be developed are on the Park East blocks between Fifth and Old World Third streets. They would remain surface parking lots well into the 2020s, under the Bucks proposal, the Milwaukee Business Journal says.
The Milwaukee Common Council’s Plan Commission will review the construction proposal for the new area and surrounding developments on November 9th.
Some fans say the new Bucks arena is something they're willing to wait for.
"As long as it`s done right, good for the city, good for the team," Silverthorn said.
Once the general design plan is approved by the Milwaukee Common Council, we should see specific renderings of what downtown Milwaukee may look like in three years.