Bucks arena district plan moves ahead, despite lots of unanswered questions

The Milwaukee Plan Commission has given its unanimous approval to the Bucks‘ arena district plan, which will now move ahead to the Milwaukee Common Council for a vote there. While the $450 million in subsidies for the $500 million arena have already been approved, elected officials still need to approve a bunch of zoning changes for the arena and surrounding “entertainment district” that the Bucks owners are promising to build, which will be easily distinguished from surrounding buildings by not being shapeless gray blobs.

The controversial bits of the redevelopment plan include tearing down an existing parking garage before building a new one (Bucks execs say they’ll provide shuttle buses for fans in the meantime) and closing a block of N. 4th Street to provide the Bucks with a public plaza. Both of those elements have raised the hackles of alderperson Bob Bauman, so expect more debate on them once the plan hits the council next month.

Meanwhile, there’s still no sign of a lease agreement on the arena, which needs to address such humongous issues as how to pay maintenance costs and whether the Bucks can break their lease before the term is up. The Bucks owners still say they hope to break ground in April, but hey, they can always leave some details to be figured out later — because that’s worked out so well in the past.

4 comments on “Bucks arena district plan moves ahead, despite lots of unanswered questions

  1. Could these planners explain what is so entertaining about visiting an arena area when there is no activity taking place in the arena? Arena selfies?

  2. The Entertainment District

    The public was told they could risk it,
    ’cause the venue would spur a fun district.
    But post game it’s known
    the fans mostly go home,
    so a ghost town is more realistic.

  3. tim c:
    You nailed it in 5 lines!
    It’s as good as any “deadline poet” ditty that Calvin Trillin publishes in The Nation.

  4. Some Milwaukee elected officials read all the economists’ reports for 30 years that say subsidies for sports palaces have no net economic benefit. So they fell for the Bucks’ owners/real estate moguls’ ploy of demanding a huge swath of publicly-owner prime real estate for them to use to broker lucrative deals for themselves–to make an arena deal “work.” Politicians imagine that will somehow trickle down–even though it’s just as likely to delay development until the Bucks can sufficiently cash in on their free land.. No surprise, for the foreseeable future the Bucks owners will merely replace an arena and add parking–plus build a slew of bars, of which MKE has no shortage..

    MKE’s uber landlord will call all the shots and milk the midwestern rubes–before moving on to greener pastures.