Bucks arena opening delayed until 2018, council reconsiders team-controlled plaza

The Milwaukee Bucks arena plan is creeping its way through the city council, and while so far all signs are that the city’s $47 million in subsidies will be approved — it’s passed two committees so far, and goes to the full council on Tuesday — there have been a couple of speed bumps:

  • Alderman Bob Bauman successfully introduced an amendment that would allow the pedestrian plaza in front of the arena to be open to traffic on non-event days. This is a problem, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, because “the arena is being designed with a focus on heavy pedestrian traffic on that block, including using the plaza at nonevent times for ticket sales and other activities, a Bucks source said.”
  • The arena now won’t open until 2018 instead of 2017 as originally planned.

The delayed opening isn’t a huge deal — it’s not like Bucks fans will be hugely put out by having to go to games at the Bradley Center for another year. As for the pedestrian plaza, this is shaping up to be one of those battles over privatizing use of a public street, a la the Boston Red Sox‘ use of Yawkey Way, that are increasingly cropping up as team owners realize they don’t need to restrain their ambitions at their stadium walls. A reasonable solution would be for the Bucks to pay rent on the street if they really want dibs on it — the Sox are paying less than $1 million a year, which is chump change as these things go — but we may be way past the point of negotiating reasonable solutions, and even Bauman said he’s not sure his amendment will survive a full council vote. We’ll find out more on Tuesday.

4 comments on “Bucks arena opening delayed until 2018, council reconsiders team-controlled plaza

  1. For the record, the city’s proposed Bucks subsidy deal calls for a PERMANENT STREET VACATION, not just a rerouting of traffic that can be reversed (as with Times Square).

    Ald. Bauman amendment would have 4th Street, a north south connector, remain open with design modifications and temporary street closings, which are done all the time. It would achieve the Bucks goals without giving them the whole enchilada–forever.

    The Bucks are demanding to be ceded this land for permanent construction–on top of already getting at least 30 acres of public land for free. Their greed has no bounds.

    These Wall Street Bucks owners must love dealing with accommodating Midwesterners. I doubt anyone in New York ever rolls over like all the Wisconsin pols have done. Nice guys here will indeed finish last…

  2. Las Vegas or Seattle by then.. IIRC, the NBA will not wait till 2018 for a new arena in Milwaukee.

  3. @Gregory,
    A bird in the hand…The NBA only demanded that MKE must have an arena-plan in place by Fall 2017. Bucks pretended that deadline was for a completed arena so they could get this extortion approved by creating phony urgency.

    The Bucks achieved that goal. Now they just have to win over a fan base and keep taxpayers from hating them for all the public assets they’re carting away and money Milwaukee city and county will be paying off for 30 years.

  4. I’m pretty sure I used to use fourth to get to Lakefront Brewery when I lived near Marquette High. It’s also a pretty good way to get there from the freeway without driving through downtown. Lakefront can’t be especially pleased.