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Milwaukee Bucks score a slam-dunk having finalised arena lease with WCD

The Wisconsin Center District (WCD) and the Milwaukee Bucks signed a lease agreement today for a new arena that will keep the team in Wisconsin for the next 30 years. The arena will serve as the centrepiece of a US$1bn dollar development plan to transform an underused portion of the city into a vibrant, urban community that will be a catalyst for economic growth throughout the region.

Bucks President, Peter Feigin, said:

This agreement is the realization of a commitment Senator Kohl and our owners made two years ago to Bucks fans and the entire community to keep the team in Wisconsin and help revitalize downtown Milwaukee. We’re incredibly thankful for all of the hard work that went into this historic public-private partnership from the WCD, elected officials and community leaders. This is just the beginning of our effort and we can’t wait to see the economic impact this will have on our community.

The new arena will be publicly owned by the WCD and operated by the Milwaukee Bucks, who have committed to annual lease payments totaling approximately US$45m during the life of the agreement. In addition to bearing the responsibility for any cost overruns during the construction of the facility, the Bucks will be responsible for all operating, maintenance and capital repair expenses. The team has also agreed to deposit a cumulative US$60m minimum into a capital improvements fund for the arena over the 30-year term of the lease.

In addition to annual lease payments, the arena is expected to generate revenue for both the WCD and state from a US$2 ticket surcharge on all arena events, while the city, county and state will all benefit from an estimated US$634m in income tax revenue over the life of the lease from Bucks players and staff, as well as those from visiting NBA teams. The lease also includes a non-relocation agreement between the Bucks and the WCD that ensures the team will play all its home games in Milwaukee for the next 30 years.

The new arena will be the centerpiece of a 27-acre retail and entertainment district in the heart of downtown Milwaukee that is expected to include an additional US$500m worth of private investment. The Bucks have already begun to invest in a new US$30m training facility adjacent to the new arena.

The new Bucks arena was designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen and HNTB. The team submitted detailed design plans to the city yesterday and is expected to break ground on the project this summer.

To see renderings or learn more about the project, visit: http://www.nba.com/bucks/release/arena

 

Image courtesy: Milwaukee Bucks/Populous/Eppstein Uhen/HNTB

 

About the Bucks new arena:

The Milwaukee Bucks released an updated set of renderings of the new multi-purpose arena planned to anchor a world-class sports and entertainment district in downtown Milwaukee. These images reflect the plans submitted for the final stage of the design approval process with the city and local public officials before construction on the new arena can begin this summer.

The images of the new multi-purpose venue and entertainment district illustrate the ambitious new development vision of Bucks ownership to transform 30-acres of mostly vacant land into a vibrant neighbourhood activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses. The arena site, located between N. Fourth Street and N. Sixth Street from W. Highland Ave. to W. Juneau Ave., will seamlessly link with active development on all sides, including Old World Third Street, Schlitz Park, The Brewery, the Milwaukee riverfront, Water Street and the Wisconsin Center.

The 714,000sqft arena will be home to Milwaukee Bucks basketball and countless sports and entertainment events. The arena design features an intimate bowl optimised for basketball viewing with the majority of the seats in the lower level closer to the action, while still providing the flexibility to host hockey games, end stage and centre stage concerts, family shows, circuses and ice events, as well as open-floor exhibitions. Both the upper and lower levels will load from the top down, creating a more efficient seating pattern free of breaks. The design caters to the next generation of fans, featuring open and transparent concourses, additional social spaces within view of the action, and a variety of experiential and premium seating options. Additional operational efficiencies include vastly improved load-in/load-out capabilities that will allow the facility to accommodate a wider variety of concerts and shows.

The Bucks tapped Populous last year to lead a group of prominent global, national and local architects including Wisconsin-based firms Eppstein Uhen and HNTB for the new arena and master plan of the entire development.

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