Marc Lasry Rumors
That arena deal is not yet in place, even though Bucks owners have promised $150 million and Kohl pledged $100 million, and they’re counting on state, city and county government to contribute the remaining half for a $500 million downtown arena. But getting public funding for pro sports buildings is a drawn-out political process, difficult to navigate and not always popular. Team executives are more than hopeful a new arena will be built, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently said he is confident an arena deal will be reached. Last week, the Bucks released an artist’s renderings of all-purpose arena in a new sports and entertainment district. No site has been chosen for the arena, but there is available land north of the Bradley Center. It’s a logical location.
The Bucks would like the funding package in place this summer and a shovel in the ground in September or October. Ownership has added local minority partners, and earlier this year the Bucks staff moved into new offices at Schlitz Park. It is a modern, wide-open office space to accommodate additional hires, adding new jobs mostly in ticket sales but also to marketing and communications departments. They are moving forward under the idea that a new arena will be built.
Negotiations are under way among the Milwaukee Bucks, city and state officials on how to pay for a $500 million new arena or face franchise relocation. The Bucks’ current owners, Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, have committed $150 million, and the former owner, Herb Kohl, has committed $100 million. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a presidential hopeful, has proposed borrowing $220 million, but his party’s legislature is fighting him on it and wants the state’s contribution to be closer to $150 million.
“If the state comes in at $150 million, the deal is dead, and the Bucks will move,” city alderman Bob Bauman told Milwaukee Magazine this week. The arena would be in his district. “The gap is too big.” Meanwhile, a poll released this week by Marquette University Law School was bleak for the Bucks. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents didn’t favor public funding for the arena even though the current plan includes no new taxes. In Milwaukee itself, 67 percent of those polled were against giving the Bucks public money. As for Walker, who is a strong supporter of the arena construction plan, his approval ratings have dropped over the past several months. As he’s about to run for president, he now has a 41 percent approval rating in his home state.
Owners of the Milwaukee Bucks are releasing their plan for a new $500 million arena that they say would anchor a much larger entertainment district in downtown Milwaukee. The Bucks owners on Wednesday talked about their plans for 30 acres of largely vacant land adjacent to the existing arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which opened in 1988. The proposed plan by owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan would demolish the current arena to make room.
While Milwaukee Bucks executives and their new design team scramble to get cost estimates for a new downtown arena to city, county and state officials, the franchise is signaling that its owners will not go beyond their $250 million commitment for the project. A source familiar with the team’s planning said principal owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry “do not intend to exceed” the amount they promised when they purchased the team from former Sen. Herb Kohl.