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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. Read more

The Milwaukee Bucks have released an updated set of renderings for the team’s new multi-purpose arena 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.

Bucks President, Peter Feigin, said:

We’re just months away from seeing the new home of the Milwaukee Bucks and our collective efforts to revitalize Milwaukee begin to move from vision to reality. These plans reflect the commitment of our ownership, generosity of Senator Kohl and historic collaboration with public officials to build a world-class sports and entertainment destination in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. We look forward to working closely with public officials and the entire community over the next several months to finalise the design and construction plans so that we can begin to create long-lasting jobs and economic opportunity in Milwaukee.

In addition to serving as the home of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, the 714,000sqft Populous-designed arena will host countless sports and entertainment events, as well as anchor a new entertainment district that hopes to serve as a catalyst for a ripple effect that will transform downtown Milwaukee.

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 masterplan of the entire development.

The Populous-led design team envisions, among other features, an exterior design for the new arena inspired by Milwaukee’s proud architectural heritage and the region’s natural environment. Nodes of glass highlighting activity within punctuate a hand-crafted zinc patina exterior.

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.

Brad Clark, Senior Principal at Populous, said:

Inspired by the natural beauty of Wisconsin’s rivers, lakes and forests, this new Wisconsin landmark will stand out as an iconic addition to the cityscape and seamlessly connect with surrounding neighbourhoods.

Read more about the new arena at bucks.com/arena.

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Images courtesy: Populous, Eppstein Uhen and HNTB.

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Sac Soccer and Entertainment Holdings (SSEH) released the first images of the proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium designed by acclaimed architecture firm HNTB. The images were launched online at BuiltforSacramento.com. Along with a presentation of the Preliminary Term Sheet to Mayor Johnson and City Council earlier this week, the news signals completion of Operation Turnkey.

Kevin Nagle, SSEH Managing Partner, said:

I’m thrilled to unveil a stadium design worthy of our fans and community. When we first hired HNTB, we challenged them to design the best home pitch advantage in MLS in a way that would celebrate both Sacramento and the world’s game. Without a doubt, HNTB has delivered.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, said:

Congratulations to Sacramento Republic FC on the release of new stadium preliminary renderings that offer an exciting glimpse into the future of downtown Sacramento. Today’s news also marks the successful completion of Operation Turnkey, one month ahead of schedule. Time and again, Sacramento has proven that we are a community, a Republic, that delivers and let there be no doubt that Sacramento is ready for Major League Soccer.

The preliminary renderings come after several months of concept design research and development. In formulating ideas for the stadium, the design team drew input from workshops, focus groups with Sacramento Republic FC fans and corporate partners, and an online survey completed by nearly 3,500 members of the public. In addition, SSEH, Legends and HNTB executives toured top MLS stadiums across the country and studied internationally-acclaimed soccer stadiums in Europe and South America.

Scott Capstack, HNTB’s Director of Design, commented:

Sacramento will set the tone for the next generation of MLS stadiums. The design harnesses the passion of Sacramento Republic FC fans and draws inspiration from top European and South American soccer stadiums in ways that few, if any, MLS stadiums have ever done before.

During the design process, SSEH sought to achieve three goals:

  • Create the Best Home Pitch Advantage in MLS – The Stadium will create the most intense and intimidating match experience in MLS – a place Sacramento Republic FC players love to play and other teams dread to visit. Key design features include: the steepest rake in MLS to put fans as close to the action as possible; and a closed bowl and continuous roof structure that wraps around all four sides of the pitch to capture and concentrate fan energy towards the pitch.
  • Celebrate the Best of Sacramento – The Stadium will celebrate Sacramento’s unique aesthetics, neighbourhoods and landmarks. The exterior appearance and building structure is inspired by the bevelled star in the Club’s crest, a symbol celebrating the city’s location as the capital city of California; tree-like structures ‘grow’ at the stadium’s perimeter in a nod to the “City of Trees;” construction materials and proximity to light rail will showcase the site’s roots in the historic Railyards district; and site and landscape design will pay homage to Sacramento’s agricultural heritage.
  • Draw Inspiration From the World’s Game – The design team looked to the best soccer stadiums in the United Kingdom, Germany and South America for inspiration. The Sacramento stadium borrows the concept of neighbourhoods from traditional English Premier League clubs by creating four distinct stands, each with its own identity. The stadium’s East Stands will create an intimidating “wall of noise” reminiscent of the Yellow Wall at the Bundesliga’s Westfalenstadion. Inspired by the passionate “hinchada” supporter groups in South America, a separate section, entrance and club will enable Sacramento Republic FC’s most die-hard fans unique opportunities to showcase their passion. The setup will enable supporter groups, like the Tower Bridge Battalion, to enter the stands together and assemble socially before and after the match.

This news represents another milestone in ‘Operation Turnkey,’ an initiative launched in April 2015 by Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, SSEH Managing Partner, Kevin Nagle, and Sacramento Republic FC President, Warren Smith to strengthen Sacramento’s bid for an MLS expansion team.

Plans for a new stadium are on track, pending an MLS expansion award to Sacramento, with the facility ready to open as soon as the 2018 MLS season.

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Images courtesy: Sacramento Republic FC/HNTB

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Images courtesy: Sacramento Republic FC/HNTB