A general development proposal has become detailed project plans, and the Bucks’ arena and entertainment district continues to push forward.
Updated design plans, including those for public art and an additional arena entrance, met with little opposition during a Milwaukee Common Council committee meeting Tuesday, and the team’s massive development moved one step closer to final approval when the full council meets on May 24.
If the Milwaukee Common Council greenlights the detailed arena plans at that meeting, the Bucks can then proceed with their scheduled groundbreaking event June 18.
On Tuesday, the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee unanimously approved design plans for the $524 million arena near North 4th Street and West Juneau Avenue, as well as a new nearby practice facility estimated to cost $30 million. In a 4-1 vote, the committee also endorsed plans for a new 1,240-space parking garage, expected to cost around $35 million, which will be located across West Juneau Avenue and north of the arena. It will connect to the venue via a skywalk.
The lone dissenting vote came from Ald. Nik Kovac, who reportedly opposed the parking garage because it didn’t include plans for apartments the Bucks say will be included.
The Bucks’ presentation on Tuesday introduced an auxiliary entrance at North 6th Street and West Juneau Avenue, which they hope will stimulate what has been criticized as a lackluster side of the building. Additionally, the team unveiled plans for a major public art installation, possibly including a statue like the one of Michael Jordan outside Chicago’s United Center, that would "engage the local artist community" and enhance the building’s street-level aesthetics on the Juneau Avenue façade.
Team president Peter Feigin reportedly told committee members the Bucks did not yet have information on the size or cost of the art, which he called "one of the landmarks" of the development.
The new arena, slated to open in the summer of 2018, is being financed through $274 million in private contributions and $250 million in public money, as per a lease agreement between the team and the Wisconsin Center District that was finalized last month. It will replace the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the team’s current home, which will be torn down after the new building opens.
The training facility, which will apparently include solar panels, is planned for North Sixth Street and a little north of West Juneau Avenue. It is being paid for completely by the Bucks.
The lead architectural firm for the new arena is Populous, out of Kansas City, Mo., while the training facility is being designed by Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects. The "Live Block" entertainment development, the designs for which were not approved Tuesday, is largely in the hands of Gensler and local firm Rinka Chung Architecture. The public plaza’s plans have not yet been finalized.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.