MILWAUKEE -- Another big step has been taken in securing funding for the new Milwaukee Bucks/Marquette University arena in downtown Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a 30-year lease for the new arena. Lease payments from the Bucks will total approximately $45 million during the life of the agreement.
“The deal ensures that the Bucks will remain in Wisconsin and will be the catalyst for widespread economic development in downtown Milwaukee for many years to come," Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin said at an afternoon news conference. “We, the Bucks, feel this is a fair and equitable agreement."
It also includes penalties should the Bucks opt to re-locate before the lease ends. The team would have to pay between $553-million and $200-million to break the agreement, based on how far into the lease it gets.
“Governor Scott Walker set the goal of protecting taxpayers when negotiating this agreement. I believe we have done just that,” added Wisconsin Center District (WCD) Board Chairman Scott Neitzel. “In summary, this is a good deal for taxpayers, for the community, for the state, and for the Bucks.”
The WCD is a government body that currently oversees the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, as well as the Milwaukee Theater and Panther Arena.
Feigin said the groundbreaking for the new arena will begin on June 18.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Pete Zervakis reports that the Wisconsin Center District board has approved a resolution which would start the process for up to $203 million in bonds which would help finance the public portion of the cost of a new arena located just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The board will vote on the official bond issue at their meeting next month.
This will take care of a major piece of the public funding aspect, which includes $250 million plus interest in funds combined from the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin through the WCD.
The overall arena cost is expected to reach nearly $525 million plus interest, with the Bucks paying for every portion not included in the public funding aspect including all cost overruns. It is set to open in the fall of 2018.