Milwaukee Bucks Unveil Plans For $500M Downtown Arena, Complex (Photos)

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks unveiled a preliminary architectural design Wednesday for a $500 million arena, which they hope will spur another $500 million in downtown development by creating an entertainment district that draws people to “live, work and play.”

The Bucks owners revealed the design renderings for about 30 acres of largely vacant land next to the existing arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which opened in 1988. The Bradley Center would be demolished under the plan to make way for a new mix of entertainment, retail, hotel, residential, office and parking space around the new 17,000-seat arena and plaza.

“This is the beginning of making it real,” Bucks president Peter Feigin said at a news conference that showcased the renderings. The next step, Feigin said, is settling on how to finance the arena, with the hope of beginning construction in the fall.

The proposed arena is the work of a team led by Populous, of Kansas City, Mo., which designed Yankee Stadium in New York, Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and Wembley Stadium in London. Populous worked with infrastructure specialist HNTB and Eppstein Uhen, a Milwaukee architectural firm that had a hand in designing Miller Park, where the Brewers play.

Brad Clark, Populous’ lead architect on the project, said the proposed multi-story structure with its transparent glass facade and curved rooftop attempts to draw inspiration from the region’s rivers, lakes and forests.

While the arena and entertainment plaza on 1 million square feet is expected to take two years to build, the additional $500 million in a mixed entertainment, residential and commercial development could take more than 10 years to materialize, Bucks officials said.

If public financing is secured, the Bucks’ ownership group has a goal of opening the new arena for the 2017 season. Naming rights for the arena is an issue to be addressed down the road, team officials said.

The Bucks also plan to build a practice facility at the site. The team currently leases space at the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center in suburban St. Francis.

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