Construction key to entertainment district at new Bucks arena will begin soon; “Plaza will be dynamic”

MILWAUKEE -- Officials are on the verge of making a major announcement regarding the Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district adjacent to the new Milwaukee Bucks arena going up in downtown Milwaukee.

The public isn't just closely following the construction of the $500 million arena. They're also eager to hear updates on the proposed live entertainment district surrounding it.

"What we are doing on the plaza, and when you look back at this arena, it is engaging," said Blair Williams, hired by the Bucks to develop the entertainment district.

Williams was the featured speaker at a Rotary Club meeting in Milwaukee on Tuesday, October 10th.

"The plaza itself will be dynamic," said Williams.

Williams is the managing director of real estate for the Bucks' arena project.

Blair Williams

"In January of this year, I took that role," said Williams.

Williams has the monumental task of shaping the kinds of arts and entertainment options the district offers outside of the arena itself.

"When I started in January, we had a good, strong lead on where we were going to go with everything. What's happened between January and now, very close to announcing some very exciting users," said Williams.

Progress on the arena itself is clearly visible, and Williams said construction key to the entertainment district will begin soon.

"We'll be under construction on those buildings very, very shortly. In fact, we are starting some of the pre-construction work on those buildings now," said Williams.

Williams was asked whether Milwaukee can support a development boom if the city isn't experiencing a population boom.

Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district

Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district

"I think we have a terrific population here now. I think we are seeing changes in how our population works. There is movement to and from the suburbs and to and from the city," said Williams.

As far as announcing specific entertainment options for the arena district, Williams said -- stay tuned.

Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district

Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district

The new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks is the focal point of the nearly 30-acre district, which also includes an expansive public entry plaza connecting to a new entertainment block, parking deck, Bucks Training Facility and other commercial and residential uses to be developed over the next 10 years.

"I can't say who we are working with right now, but we are very pleased with who we are working with and we think Milwaukee will be excited," said Williams.

Williams says between Bucks and Marquette games and events in the plaza, the entertainment district will shoot to have at least 150 planned events a year.