SBD/December 20, 2011/Facilities

Bradley Center Operating Income Up, But Talk Of New Bucks Arena Continues

Bradley Center officials have invested $60M to maintain building since it opened in '88
Bradley Center yesterday reported that operating income in the fiscal year ending June 30 “totaled $16.3 million,” up from $14.7M last year, according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Bradley Center officials said that the arena's financial condition “would have been worse, if not for $5 million from the state for capital repair and maintenance.” That aid, the “first public money the Bradley Center has ever received, is expected to be exhausted in 2012.” Including an “annual depreciation expense of $2.6 million, the Bradley Center reported a loss of $300,000 last year, an improvement of $1.7 million.” Since the building “opened in 1988 as a $90 million gift from the late Jane Bradley Pettit, officials at the Bradley Center have invested $60 million to maintain the building.” A total of $6.3M of those improvements “were completed in the last fiscal year.” But that investment and the arena's “inability to generate significant new revenue or any measure of public funding has Bradley Center officials talking openly about the need for a new facility.” The building “owes the Bucks $9.56 million,” but some of that money “has been deferred for several years with the approval” of team Owner Herb Kohl. Bradley Center also reported that it has “$8.8 million in debt owed to BMO Marshall & Ilsley Bank” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/20).

THIS OLD HOUSE: In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt wrote now that Madison Square Garden “is undergoing an $850 million face-lift and the New Jersey Nets are playing in a modern hockey arena until their new home in Brooklyn is ready, the soon-to-be 24-year-old Bradley Center," along with the Kings' Power Balance Pavilion, "stands as the NBA's oldest non-renovated arena." Bradley Center officials said that the building has “a useful life span of another five to seven years, a period with which the Bucks have said they can work.” But the team “will only sign year-to-year leases while the Bradley Center tries to squeeze more revenue out of the building to cover its expenses and provide the Bucks more operating capital.” Hunt wrote, “There's the challenge.” How does Bradley Center “convince the corporate community to buy into its moneymaking ideas in the interim while community leaders sell the public on the need for a new arena?” Bradley Center President & CEO Steve Costello said, "There's going to have to be a new facility. But if we fall asleep today and don't do what we need to do to get the team committed for the next seven years, whether Herb Kohl or someone else is the owner, the whole subject of a new facility is moot because we won't have an NBA team" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/18).
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