The arena and entertainment “live block” that would anchor the new development. The live block would front Fourth Street and connect with Old World Third Street;And if you look at the architect's drawings of the proposed development, it's pretty badass. Here's a look the Milwaukee River, looking west across 3rd, 4th, and 6th Streets.
• The arena design itself. The building would include glass and “transparency” that would provide views of Milwaukee’s skyline.
• The “live block,” which the Bucks said would be an “arena arrival experience” augmented by a transparent facade that marks the front door and a “monumental atrium.”
The live block would serve as both an “arena forecourt and community living room,” the Bucks said. The block would be designed as a year-round destination.
“We’re not just trying to build a new home for the Milwaukee Bucks, but create a 365-day attraction for Wisconsin residents that will help revitalize downtown Milwaukee,” said Bucks president Peter Feigin. “We’re excited to share this glimpse of our vision for the future as we continue to work with our local and state partners to arrive at a viable plan. This collective effort will create a ripple effect of growth, development and transformation for the entire community and region.”
The site is certainly available, as this article from Sean Ryan of the Business Journal mentioned last week.
Milwaukee County on Monday received an offer from an unidentified party for the purchase of land in the Park East corridor that the Milwaukee Bucks' owners are targeting for some of the $500 million in developments surrounding their planned arena.That empty lot of land has always been a blight as you head into downtown on McKinley, and would be a great introduction to the city for folks coming off of Highway 43. This is definitely more of what I wanted to see out of this project, where the arena is a mere part of a much larger development, and I'm very much in favor from that part of the Bucks arena issue.
That offer likely came from the Bucks organization, although county officials declined to discuss details. Milwaukee Bucks officials have yet to respond to a request for comment.
The county and city of Milwaukee own 9.8 acres between West Juneau and West McKinley avenues where Bucks owners on Wednesday unveiled plans for development to surround a new arena.
Of course, the tough part is to make sure the public and private financing is truly there. Gov Walker had a plan to borrow $220 million of state money to chip into the arena (with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau saying that lifetime costs would reach $488 million when you figure in the total debt that's also to be paid), but it clearly hasn't gone over well with many decison-makers and the public, and an alternative proposal from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has looked at reducing that initial borrowing number to $150 million. Much of the non-arena development seems to be ready to be financed by private investors, which would leave the state off the hook for that part. And there are signals from Assembly Speaker Robbin' Vos that some kind of Bucks-related package will ultimately go through the Legislature as part of state budget discussions.
But here's where things get tricky, because Robbin' and the anti-Milwaukee GOP legislators also are yapping about how the City and County of Milwaukee need to "step up their game and make more of an investment" in the [Bucks] project. This seems to indicate that they have no clue what the local Milwaukee governments are already offering up and giving up to the project, which is a lot. In addition to supplying and maintaining the streets, sewers, community law enforcement and related infrastructure for the proposed development, take a look at this provision that is part of the LFB's summary of the Governor's plan for the "Sports and Entertainment District" in Milwaukee.
District Income Tax Exemption. Specify that the income of a sports and entertainment district would be exempt from the state corporate income and franchise tax. (this seems to be related to income from investments that the district board makes, and not the profits of the team itself...I hope)Sure seems possible that a whole lot of this development could fall under this definition of a "Sports and Entertainment District", which would mean the City and County would not get any of the benefits of a higher tax base for it, while still being expected to install and provide the services for those buildings. That seems to be one hell of an in-kind contribution without getting the property value benefits from it, and it sounds similar to what Urban Milwaukee's Bruce Murphy described when he mentioned that the property tax exemption for Miller Park will allow the Brewers to avoid paying $156 million in property taxes over the course of 40+ years.
Property Tax Exemption. Current law [s. 70.11(36) of the statutes] provides a property tax exemption for property consisting of or contained in a sports and entertainment home stadium of a professional athletic team that is a member of a league that contains teams with home stadiums in other states. The exemption includes parking lots, garages, restaurants, parks, concession facilities, entertainment facilities, transportation facilities, and other functionally related or auxiliary facilities or structures.
With that in mind, the Milwaukee contingent of the Legislature should write into any Bucks bill specific limitations on where this district is, to make sure the city and county taxpayers are not on the hook for making up the difference that would result from the write-off of hundreds of millions of dollars of tax base that would otherwise be added to the city and county totals. Combine that with the services that would be provided with this entertainment district, and it sure seems like the City and County are paying more than their fair share as it is, (especially if the Park East land is sold for below full market value). So the GOPs at the Capitol would be wise to shut their mouth about Milwaukee's contribution to this project if they want it to work, because it sure seems possible that like most things in this state, Milwaukee is putting a lot more than they get back with the Bucks arena and related development.