The new multi-purpose facility is scheduled to open in time for the 2018-19 NBA season, the 714,000-square-foot arena is the centerpiece of a new sports and entertainment district in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Bucks joined with an estimated 20,000 fans, elected officials and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center in the heart of downtown Milwaukee on June 18. The day-long celebration marked the culmination of a multi-year effort to build this historic public-private partnership between the state, county, city and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Scheduled to open in time for the 2018-19 NBA season, the 714,000-square-foot arena is the centerpiece of a new sports and entertainment district in Milwaukee that will transform 30 acres of vacant land into a new vibrant, urban neighborhood activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses.

“This is a truly historic day for Milwaukee and the entire Bucks family,” said Bucks co-owner Wes Edens. “Thanks to the commitment and generosity of Senator Kohl, along with the leadership of elected officials and countless community leaders, we are beginning a new era in downtown Milwaukee. Today’s celebration, with the entire community present, shows just how bright the future is – for the Bucks, Milwaukee and the great state of Wisconsin. This effort is going to have a lasting economic impact on this community and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.”

The celebration at the Milwaukee Tool Construction Site featured fans of all ages joining with elected officials, community leaders, and Bucks players past and present including Jabari Parker and Oscar Robertson. Fans were treated to a dramatic groundbreaking ceremony that culminated with the unveiling of a 40-foot by 60-foot rendering of the new arena, while also enjoying all of the staples of a traditional Wisconsin block party – live music, interactive games, and great food and drinks. The groundbreaking celebration and block party also included once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to take photos with Bucks legends on the site of the new arena and sign the construction piles that will form the foundation of the new building.

The design for the new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center design features an intimate bowl optimized for basketball viewing with the majority of the seats in the lower level closer to the action, while still providing the flexibility to host hockey games, end stage and center stage concerts, family shows, circuses and ice events, as well as open-floor exhibitions. Both the upper and lower levels will load from the top down, creating a more efficient seating pattern free of breaks. The design caters to the next generation of fans, featuring open and transparent concourses, additional social spaces within view of the action, and a variety of experiential and premium seating options.

The new arena project was designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen and HNTB, with Mortenson Construction tabbed to lead the construction.

Photo © Gary Dineen, Milwaukee Bucks