Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:18 pm
Milwaukee’s Bradley Center was renamed the BMO Harris Bradley Center this morning after the bank made an undisclosed investment in the future of the building.
Four other major investors — Kohl’s Corp., Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Inc. and Rockwell Automation Inc. — and 22 other local companies invested in the MMAC’s Champions of the Community project to provide upkeep funding for the aging arena.
The individual company contributions were not released, but Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) president Tim Sheehy said $18 million has been raised so far, including the BMO investment.
Great cities that are built to last invest in their people, culture and infrastructure, Sheehy said. The BMO Harris Bradley Center supports 2,350 jobs and has a $204 million gross annual economic impact.
“The Bradley Center has served us well, but it now enters the next phase — serving as a bridge to a new facility,” Sheehy said.
BMO Harris Bradley Center CEO Steve Costello paid tribute to the building’s inception with a $93 million donation from the Jane Bradley Pettit family and looked to the future of the space.
“It’s been absolutely amazing to see the business community come together and support Mrs. Pettit’s gift to the state of Wisconsin — this building,” Costello said.
He said the newest funding is meant to extend the life of the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the next five years while the community plans for a new arena.
Costello said the focus is on maintaining the building for the next five years, but said no specific improvement decisions have been made. Long-term, a new arena will likely be necessary to keep an NBA team in Milwaukee, he said.
Sen. Herb Kohl, the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, reiterated that he will make a personal contribution to a future arena.
“It was critical that we come up with the wherewithal to come up with a way to make this facility a bridge to the future,” he said.
Brad Chapin, executive vice president of personal banking at BMO Harris Bank, called the BMO Harris Bradley Center the “crown jewel of downtown Milwaukee” and said the bank is making a substantial commitment to its future.
BMO has agreed to a six-year sponsorship of the Bucks, and a BMO Harris Boys and Girls Clubs seating section will be created.
“We will set aside seats for every home game for the Bucks and other events for the use of nonprofits across the state of Wisconsin,” Chapin said.
Marc Marotta, Bradley Center board chairman, said the building will continue to pay tribute to its founders.
“The Bradley name will remain on this building for as long as this building exists,” he said.