Marquette Wire

Bucks announces arena package highly anticipated by Marquette

Photo+via+the+Milwaukee+Bucks
Photo via the Milwaukee Bucks

Photo via the Milwaukee Bucks

Photo via the Milwaukee Bucks

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The Milwaukee Bucks revealed its most specific plans Wednesday for a $1 billion arena package located north of the team’s BMO Harris Bradley Center, including $500 million for development surrounding the new arena.

The Bucks released conceptual images of the “futuristic-looking” arena, expected to roughly cover 700,000 square feet and seat 17,000 people. The development will replace the team’s outdated facilities at the Bradley Center, which also houses Marquette’s men’s basketball games.

The development will include a 60,000-square-foot plaza that will serve as an entertainment space and 3 million square feet of other development, such as a new practice facility to replace the Cousins Center, hotels, offices, retail and commercial space.

The team described the arena’s design as evoking “Wisconsin’s natural beauty and Milwaukee’s rich heritage of industry and craftsmen, with expressive structure, transparency and fluid forms inspired by the rivers, lakes and forests of the region.”

“This collective effort will create a ripple effect of growth, development and transformation for the entire community and region,” Bucks President Peter Feigin said in a statement.

Marquette Athletic Director Bill Scholl said he expects the university to be included in the project.

“Our men’s basketball program is excited about the prospect of playing in a new arena,” Scholl said in a statement. “It will provide a tremendous state-of-the-art facility for our student-athletes, it will have a significant impact on recruiting and it will provide our incredible fan base, including our students, with a game-day experience second to none in the country.”

Scholl applauded what he sees as the Bucks investing further in the Milwaukee community. He associated the new arena with neighborhood improvement initiatives like the Near West Side Partners.

“From Marquette’s perspective, it seems like a pretty big boon,” said Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics.

Although Hanson said he thinks Marquette will benefit from the arena plan, he expressed reservations as an urban economist about the idea of governments spending on something like a sports arena and the idea of the state funding what he sees as a local amenity.

The Bucks are supporting Gov. Scott Walker’s plan of $220 million in state bonds with a $150 million commitment from the Bucks owners and a $100 million commitment from Sen. Herb Kohl. Mayor Tom Barrett has committed $25 million from the City of Milwaukee.

Logistics of public financing from the state are still being debated in the state legislature.

Student reactions to the arena have been split. Margaret Stang, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she thinks the concept of spending that much money on the project is “ridiculous” and “excessive.”

Others are thrilled, like Erik Van Hammond, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences.

“For the city of Milwaukee, I think it will give a new energy and cause the development of new areas around downtown,” Van Hammond said. “For Marquette, if they plan to play in the newly built stadium once it is completed, I think it would be an awesome experience for players and would make Marquette basketball more appealing than it already is.”

It could be a while before Head Coach Steve Wojciechowski and his team get to hit the court of the new arena. The entire project is anticipated to take approximately 10 to 12 years.

The Bucks’ plans, which are still conceptual, call for tearing down the Bradley Center in the future. At this point, though, it will continue housing Marquette basketball games.

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