A key commercial building in the entertainment complex outside the new Milwaukee Bucks arena will be smaller and have fewer tenants, according to updated plans filed with the city. Also, the Bucks eliminated several floor-to-ceiling beer kettles from the building, which were a strong visual component in the previous design and signaled that a craft brewery would be part of the development.
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The Bucks cut the number of levels available for lease from four to two, said Marc Farha, executive vice president of Icon Venue Group, who represents the Bucks’ owners for the arena project. That means, he said, that “it’s more likely that we will have two tenants” rather than the originally envisioned four.
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving expressed concern about the throwback court the team will play on Thursday night when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The Bucks are hosting a “Return to the MECCA” night, referencing the former name of the arena, where the team played from 1977-1988. The Bucks went so far as to have a court painted in the bright multi-color fashion of the original Robert Indiana-designed floor.
“I’m all about safety, so we’ll see how it is on my knees, see how it is on everyone’s bodies,” said Irving. “I know this is a pretty older court and it looks like it’s fresh painted as well. I’m just going to do my assessment and go from there.” When a reporter suggested it’s a newer court that was simply painted, Irving remained skeptical. “It took me three steps to realize this is not the same NBA court I’m used to playing on,” said Irving. “We’ll see what’s up.”
Jeff Zillgitt: Bucks making progress on new arena, which is next door to current arena. Scheduled to open for 2018-19 season. pic.twitter.com/ZpItfroPqH
The first steel beam was hoisted Monday at the construction site for the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena, just yards from where the team plays at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. But the Bucks have two more seasons to call the Bradley Center home and they plan to make the most of it. “I love the Bradley Center, the aroma that it has, the feel,” Bucks forward Jabari Parker said. “Just looking at those banners – especially those runs they made in the early 2000s – it’s something we want to get done before going on to a new arena. “We want to leave a mark and go out on a high note.”
In about two years, the Bucks will make another move, from the BMO Harris Bradley Center to a $524 million, state-of-the-art facility just north of the present building. On Saturday the team held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony featuring politicians, team officials and former players. Shovels hit the ground and the dirt flew at the construction site near N. 4th and W. Juneau streets. Current Bucks player Jabari Parker, who was on hand for the ceremony, believes the transition will be an exciting one. “I think our arena is going to be more welcoming, like the Barclays (Center) or the new places they have built,” Parker said.
The new facility’s design will have a lower level that offers more intimate views of the game, possibly echoing the closeness felt in the Arena in the 1970s. “It was a great place to play,” said former Bucks forward Bobby Dandridge, who was present for Saturday’s ceremony, along with Oscar Robertson and McGlocklin from the 1971 champions. “There were no barriers that prevented the fans from seeing you or waiting for you after the game. Security was not an issue. The only thing between the locker room and the court was a curtain. That was it.”
The Milwaukee Bucks have signed a 30-year lease with the public entity that will own the team’s new arena. The Bucks will pay at least $1 million annually to rent the arena from the Wisconsin Center District. Those lease payments will total $45 million over the term of the lease. The district board approved the terms of the lease agreement Wednesday.
The new Milwaukee Bucks arena’s proposed design received its first city approval Monday, helping prepare the $500 million project for a planned construction start this summer. The Plan Commission voted 4-0 to recommend approval. The detailed plan development also needs Common Council approval. The preliminary endorsement came despite concerns raised by some commission members about what they said was a need for additional landscaping to better blend the arena with the surrounding neighborhood.
The first detailed glimpse of the new downtown Milwaukee arena reveals a giant building with a dramatically arcing roof, curving body, tall sheets of glass, social spaces — and a few challenges yet to overcome. The Milwaukee Bucks will share the development plans with the City of Milwaukee on Thursday; several renderings were released in advance to the Journal Sentinel. They are considerably more detailed than the conceptual renderings released in April 2015 and represent the first step in a public design approval process that’s required for construction to begin.
The public’s first opportunity to formally comment on part of a $500 million funding plan to build a new Milwaukee Bucks arena attracted an overflow crowd Monday evening, with one group questioning how the city has enough money to help pay for the project but not neighborhood or school investments. The packed City Hall meeting began the final stage of a process that could see Milwaukee keep or lose an NBA franchise that has called the city home for nearly 50 years. Without a new arena by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and move it. The Bucks currently play in the 27-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center.
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March 23, 2018 | 10:04 pm EDT Update
Mark Murphy: Evan Turner on Smart jamming thumb while going for loose ball: “Absolutely not (surprised). I don’t think he’d feel comfortable unless he had to double check himself before he got up off the ground. He’s a warrior.”