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Bucks owners hope to have site for new arena in 3-4 months

Aug 4, 2014, 11:45 AM EST

Jason Kidd, Marc Lasry Jason Kidd, Marc Lasry

When Wes Edens and Marc Lasry purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for a then-record $550 million it came with one string attached — they had to keep the team in Milwaukee and get a new arena built. If things are not approved an on the way by 2017 the team can be purchased by the league and sold to new owners (mostly likely in the area rather than moved to Seattle or another destination).

Edens and Lasry are taking the first steps toward that new arena, talking with the city about locations, reports Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel.

The new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks hope to identify a site for a new multipurpose arena in the next three or four months, according to Ald. Bob Bauman….

“They have a very tight timetable,” Bauman said. “They want to have a site identified in three or four months. Then they want to do the engineering and design. Then they will focus on the financials.”

The Bucks owners, who live in New York, are trying to learn the lay of the land in Milwaukee — where there is land and where they could get approvals for a stadium (and if it is like every other recent one some retail and residential development around it).

The real question with the arena will be paying for it, this will likely cost at least $500 million. Edens and Lasry have said they would combine to pitch in $100 million, former Bucks owner Herb Kohl pitched in $100 million, and the six minority investors in the team also are expected to kick in some cash for the development.

But to get this done they are going to want some form of public financing. That will prove to be tricky. There is built in opposition to this, particularly any kind of tax (sales or otherwise). If that does become a sticking point, it will lead to some tough decisions for the league about the future of the franchise. Commissioner Adam Silver, even more than former commissioner David Stern, doesn’t want to see franchises move, but this could be his biggest test case, depending on how things shake out over the next few years.

  1. bkbell3 - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Why, should tax payers foot the bill to build a factory er, i mean a stadium for billionaires? Do tax payers build a new factory for companies that make motor homes or make computers or vacuum cleaners etc.? It’s a privately own company spend your own money.

    • kopy - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      I’m not saying it’s proper, or fair, but “regular” companies get tax breaks and incentives from local governments all the time.

  2. handsomerob86 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    tax ‘breaks’ aren’t free money to spend or building of infastructure that the ‘company’ owns. Everyone would start a business if the government paid over half the start up cost and you never had to pay back. Sports franchise are definitely not ‘normal’ business’ at all.

  3. handsomerob86 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    tax ‘breaks’ aren’t free money to spend or building of infrastructure that the ‘company’ owns. Everyone would start a business if the government paid over half the start up cost and you never had to pay back. Sports franchise are definitely not ‘normal’ business’ at all.

  4. mvp43 - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    I live in the Milwaukee area (not Milwaukee County), and I can tell you that any type of tax increase will be shot down. Milwaukee county is already one of the highest taxed counties in the country.
    Personally, I am in favor of it and would be open to a multi- county tax similar to what the Brewers have at Miller Park.

    I too don’t want to be taxed more, but I see a value in not just an NBA franchise, but a state of the art arena for concerts etc. If I were the mayor of any of the surrounding counties, I would put a plan together asap.

  5. jammer73 - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    The perfect site would be in a different city and state, or better yet contract them. The Bucks have been a laughing stock for years.

  6. atahualpaoxford - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    If one of the conditions of the purchase was that hey had to keep the team in town, and built a new arena, are they looking now at public money for the construction..??? ( yes, I know that some people are contributing…but they will need more money).
    What happened if they don’t get it…???
    Does the NBA take the team and sell it again…???

  7. alongthegulf - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    It’s tuff to build any kind of a stadium with strictly public money, every with 55-50 split of public private money. Nobody is voting for a tax increase. Just ask the TB Rays. Being a small market team doesn’t help. Owners, who need a new stadium, better have deep pockets.

  8. milkcan44 - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Bets are being taken on what comes first – new arena site, or new coach.

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