MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks will mark a milestone in the history of the NBA franchise when ground is broken for a new $524 million arena in downtown Milwaukee.
With the turn of a ceremonial shovel Saturday, construction will begin on the 714,000-square-foot arena just north of the Bucks' current home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mortenson Construction, which has built more than 160 sports and entertainment projects in the U.S., is the general contractor for the complex that is expected to be ready for the 2018-19 season.
Former Bucks players Oscar Robertson, Jon McGlocklin, Bob Lanier, Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson are expected to join owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan and Mike Fascitelli for a ceremony and celebration. Former owner Sen. Herb Kohl is also expected to attend.
Fans will have an opportunity to put their mark on the new arena by signing one of the foundation slabs.
The Bucks have signed a 30-year lease with Wisconsin Center District, the public entity that will own the new arena. The Bucks will pay at least $1 million annually to rent the arena from the district with lease payments totaling $45 million over the term of the lease.
The team will be responsible for operating, maintenance and capital repair expenses. The agreement called for the Bucks to deposit $60 million into a capital improvements fund for the arena during the term of the lease.
A public financing package covers $250 million in construction costs, while current and former Bucks owners have already committed $250 million. The Bucks have agreed to pay for any cost overruns during construction.
The arena will also host Marquette University basketball games, concerts and other events.