SBD/April 3, 2014/Facilities

Group Concludes Bradley Center Remodel Too Costly, Would Not Address Major Needs

Bradley Center would need to be expanded by about 200,000-square feet
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has tentatively concluded that revamping BMO Harris Bradley Center at a cost of up to $300M would be "prohibitively expensive and fail to deliver a solution to Milwaukee’s long-term arena needs," according to Rich Kirchen of the MILWAUKEE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The subcommittee is "preparing a recommendation on whether to build a new arena downtown" for the Bucks. While MMAC leaders "generally support building a new arena ... they also wanted to explore the possibility of a major remodeling at the existing 26-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center." The MMAC subcommittee has "not made a final recommendation to nix the concept of remodeling the existing arena." However, President Tim Sheehy said that he "expects that will be the panel's conclusion." The high cost of remodeling the arena "results from, among other things, the need to reconfigure the lower seating bowl and the balcony." The facility was "designed for hockey and the sight lines for basketball are poor in many sections." Sheehy said, “You would have to take out all the concrete and re-do the seating bowl." Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Corp. BOD Chair Marc Marotta said that the arena also would "need to be expanded" from 550,000-square feet to about 750,000-square feet to "meet the current size requirements of NBA arenas" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/2).

MARK MY WORDS: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio "raised eyebrows on Monday when he apparently said he wouldn't rule out providing financial support to build a new arena in Milwaukee." While Attanasio did "not say how much he might be willing to provide, his potential interest would provide a shot in the arm to efforts to get an arena built." Attanasio's apparent interest in providing financial support "also leads to speculation he may be interested in investing in the Bucks." Potential investors in pro sports franchises are "routinely asked to sign confidentiality agreements," which could "explain Attanasio's reluctance to say anything further about his possible interest in investing in a new arena or the Bucks, or both" (JSONLINE.com, 4/1).
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