The Milwaukee Bucks unveiled plans Wednesday for a new 17,000-seat, $500 million arena. The proposal includes a state-of-the-art practice facility and surrouding entertainment district that could drive the price of development to around $1 billion.
According to the report, the downtown Milwaukee development space could encompass up to one million square feet.
“We’re not just trying to build a new home for the Milwaukee Bucks, but create a 365-day attraction for Wisconsin residents that will help revitalize downtown Milwaukee,” Bucks president Peter Feigin said. “We’re excited to share this glimpse of our vision for the future as we continue to work with our local and state partners to arrive at a viable plan."
The Bucks have at least $250 million to start with, as Bucks' owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry pledged to give at least $150 million toward the project and former owner Herb Kohl has pledged another $100 million.
Edens and Lasry bought the Bucks for $550 million last year.
The arena’s design was produced by Populous, who are working on designs for new arenas in Las Vegas and Quebec and have also designed the Amway Center in Orlando and the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The city of Milwaukee has also committed to give as much as $25 million to the project. That plan includes $17 million in infrastructure, and giving up a city-owned parking ramp and parcel valued at a combined $8.1 million.
The entire project could take 10-12 years to complete, with the addition of office, entertainment, retail, residential, hotel and commercial space, plus a new parking structure.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said in January that the state's "jock tax" could cover the debt payments of $220 million on state-issued bonds for a new arena.
For 2015, the jock tax is expected to bring in $15 million, but over the next few years that number is expected to increase dramatically because of additional revenue from the new nine-year television deal that will take effect in 2016-17.
The Bucks have played in the 18,000 seat BMO Harris Bradley Center since 1988. Even though the arena recently received a $3 million renovation, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said that the Bradley Center is too small, and not a suitable NBA venue.
- Scooby Axson