The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly ready to announce a $1 billion arena and development package in a neglected area of downtown Milwaukee. This plan calls for the construction of a $500 million arena, the demolition of the BMO Bradley Center (the Bucks current home), and $500 million in developments in the mostly empty lots around the proposed arena site.
Under the proposal, which is set to be unveiled in a press conference Wednesday morning, the Bucks would combine with the City, County, and State to build a state of the art 700,000 square foot, 17,000 seat arena for $500 million just north of the BMO Bradley Center. After the arena is completed, the Bradley Center will be demolished and a portion of the 60,000 square foot public plaza would go on its site.
The Bucks are currently planning on purchasing one million square feet around the arena to develop the land slowly as the arena (and its developments) begin to turn a profit. This development could end up being a cash cow for the franchise as the arena continues to hold events and bring people into a previously neglected part of town.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the Bucks will be buying out the lease of the Archbishop Cousins Center in St. Francis to build brand new practice facility. It is going to cost the franchise a pretty penny to buy out the lease, but getting a new practice facility for the team would be a huge boost for the players and staff.
While publicly unveiling the plan tomorrow is a huge step for the franchise, the funding plan for the arena — the catalyst of the ancillary developments — is still murky at best.
For now the Bucks are backing Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed $220 million state bonding plan, buttressed by a $150 million commitment from Bucks owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, and a $100 million commitment from former Sen. Herb Kohl.”
“At the same time, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has said whatever bonding amount is approved, it will be less than Walker’s initial offering of $220 million.
And Walker himself has circled back and said he’s open to whatever plan can garner enough support to get the deal done.” – The Journal Sentinel
It’s unlikely that Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, the Bucks owners, would have spent all this time drawing up proposals and arena plans if they weren’t confident about getting public funds into the project. But it is important for fans to remember that this is proposal isn’t set in stone, especially with the uncertainty surrounding the arena’s financing.