- Construction crews have completed the first concrete pour at the Milwaukee Bucks new $540 million NBA arena, according to the Associated Press.
- The new slab is part of the structure’s future concourse area and represents a fraction of the 18,000 cubic yards of concrete expected to be used during construction.
- The arena, also known as the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, will be at the heart of a 30-acre district that will feature restaurants, shopping, a Bucks practice arena, parking and other entertainment and event venues.
Construction began on the Bucks new arena in June of last year, and, according to general contractor Mortenson Construction, the facility is on schedule and will be complete in time for the 2018-2019 NBA season. The team’s current home at the BMO Bradley Center will be razed once the new arena is finished.
The Wisconsin Center District (WCD) will own the arena and is also keeping watch on the $250 million investment of taxpayer dollars that state lawmakers approved in August of 2015. When the arena construction is complete, the WCD will lease the arena back to the Bucks for at least 30 years. Under the agreement, the team will keep naming-rights revenue and cash from sponsorship deals. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was a strong advocate of the new arena deal after the Bucks threatened to relocate.
The Bucks selection of Mortenson wasn't a surprise, as the company is widely considered an expert in sports venue construction. The general contractor also has a strong regional presence and has led construction on such facilities as the $1.1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium, completed in June of last year. Local labor unions and Mortenson also entered into a project labor agreement (PLA) for the arena, a deal that sets a prevailing wage, forbids strikes or lockouts in favor of a dispute resolution process and requires that the project hire veterans.
In December, the team announced that it would join forces with SkillSmart, a Maryland-based online job search company, to recruit the 40% share of local workers to which it has committed. The organizations said they want to create a pipeline of workers not only for the arena but for the surrounding entertainment district as well.