MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Bucks have added seven business leaders to its ownership group as it works to rebuild the team and develops plans to replace an aging arena.
The Bucks said Friday the additional members include five prominent African-American executives who have been involved in major civic initiatives The five formed Partners for Community Impact this summer to explore economic development opportunities, including the Bucks, according to one of its members, Valerie Daniels-Carter, president and CEO of V&J Holdings Cos., a fast-food company with 4,000 employees in five states.
The additional investors give team owners Wesley Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan strong backing as they settle on the site for a new arena to replace the 26-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center, one of the oldest active NBA arenas. Edens has said the owners hope to pick the site for the multipurpose arena by the end of the year.
The Bucks, in a statement naming the additional investors, noted that PCI has previously been involved in urban economic development and renewal projects. Building a new Bucks arena is part of larger economic development opportunities for Milwaukee, Daniels-Carter said.
"It' important for where ever the arena goes that there is development around the arena. It just makes economic sense. It's a point of destination that is inclusive of opportunities to do other things," said Daniels-Carter, who played basketball at Lincoln University in Missouri and was drafted by the Milwaukee Does in 1978.
The National Basketball Association has approved PCI's ownership bid, as well as that of Gale Klappa, CEO of Wisconsin Energy Corp., and Jon Hammes, managing partner of Hammes, according to the Bucks.
Besides Daniels-Carter, members of PCI include Michael Barber, Chief Operating Officer of GE Healthcare; Virgis Colbert, a retired executive vice president of worldwide operations for Miller Brewing Co.; Charles Harvey, a Johnson Controls vice president and president of the Johnson Controls Foundation; and Cory Nettles, founder and managing director of General Growth Capital.
Klappa, who heads the state's largest electric and natural gas utility, said he couldn't pass on joining the franchise.
"All of us are united in our goal of building the Bucks organization into an economic engine for Milwaukee and Wisconsin, providing quality jobs in the community, supporting economic growth and making substantive progress on building our statewide workforce," Klappa said in a statement.
The amount of investment by PCI and Klappa and Hammes was not disclosed.