Construction of their new arena is in its early phases, but the Milwaukee Bucks are already providing fans a glimpse of the venue through a preview center.
Located at the team’s offices at the Schlitz Park Stock-House Building in downtown Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Sports and Entertainment Center (WESC) Preview Center combines digital and physical displays of the new arena and the Bucks’ history. This plan follows a trend that is taking place across sports right now, as teams look for creative ways to inform fans of projects while building anticipation for new facilities. In the NFL, for example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers launched the New Raymond James Stadium Experience, a virtual reality display that provides fans with an interactive preview of the renovations taking place at Raymond James Stadium.
Spanning 13,000 square feet, the WESC Preview Center incorporates similar elements and foreshadows some of the new arena’s premium areas. While the Bucks are limiting access to the space to corporate partners for the time being, they expect it to be something that fans will gravitate toward when it opens to the public down the road. More from OnMilwaukee.com:
Ted Loehrke, the Bucks’ executive vice president, strategy and development, says the goal of the Preview Center is to allow people to touch and feel the physical space and see the live plans – including blueprints and building material – before the new arena opens.
“Part of this is we’re building something that won’t be fully realized for another two years,” he says Friday during a media tour, “so we want people to be able to experience it.”
Loehrke says the Bucks have gotten a “great response to the suites.” Besides the impressive luxury box replica, which has a screen showing a game going on in the new arena, there is a display case in the Preview Center containing Schlitz bottles that represent the number of suites that have been sold; it’s already about half-filled. Loehrke jokingly calls it “the world’s most sophisticated inventory management system.”
The space is currently only available for Bucks and corporate partner events, but Loehrke hopes the public will be allowed in for tours by next spring.
This space opens as construction continues to take place in downtown Milwaukee. The new Bucks arena is set to be part of a much larger development along the Park East corridor, with related projects including retail and entertainment development, potential high-end office space, and a team training center.
Ground was broken for the project in June, and construction is already underway for several key amenities, including the arena, practice facility, and related parking infrastructure. Already robust, it is expected that activity related to the construction will be active for the next several years. More from the Journal Sentinel:
It likely won’t be until fall when people driving or walking past the construction sites notice buildings starting to rise. But the projects are proceedings in earnest, with all three sites totaling around 120 workers on a typical day. That includes temporary offices in trailers being assembled nearby on the Park East strip.
“That’s where we’ll be for the next two years,” said Marc Farha, executive vice president of Icon Venue Group. That Greenwood Village, Colo.-based firm is overseeing the projects for the Bucks and their development affiliate, Head of the Herd LLC.
The three Bucks-related projects are happening within a block of one another.
Two projects, the arena and its parking structure, include $250 million in public cash to help cover the $524 million tab. The $30 million training center is being financed entirely by the Bucks.
The arena is the main event. It is being developed just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, south of W. Juneau Ave. between N. 4th and N. 6th streets.
That site previously was used mainly for parking. It also included the former home of Kissinger’s Meats and two buildings that provided storage space and cooling equipment for the Bradley Center.
The Bucks’ new arena is expected to open in time for 2018-2019 NBA season.
Images courtesy Milwaukee Bucks and Populous.