Bucks pledge community benefits for Park East development plans

Head of the Herd LLC, whose managing members include the majority owners of the Milwaukee Bucks, has pledged to meet the objectives of Milwaukee County’s Park East Redevelopment Compact (PERC) in its $400 million development proposal for the Park East corridor, according to a report from Milwaukee County economic development director James Tarantino.

The PERC was approved by the County Board in 2005. It seeks community benefits for development of the county’s land in the Park East corridor. Ever since its adoption critics of the PERC have said that it added red tape that has discouraged development from occurring in the Park East corridor.

According to Tarantino’s report, it is estimated that the development planned by the Bucks for the Park East corridor would create $5 million in annual property taxes. The development could create more than 3,700 jobs, according to the report. The project would contain more than 1.5 million square feet of residential, office, parking and other uses including a practice facility for the Bucks and public plazas.

The three phase project would be ancillary development that would be built around a proposed $500 million new downtown arena, which would be built just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center along the Park East corridor. The owners of the Bucks and former owner Herb Kohl have pledged to pay for half of the cost of a new arena. But state and local officials have yet to reach agreement on how to pay for the other half.

Under the Bucks’ proposal, the county would sell 9.8 acres in the Park East corridor to Head of the Herd for $1. That site, located between McKinely and Juneau Avenues west of the Milwaukee River and the Aloft hotel, would be part of a larger 24-acre redevelopment project that would include the new arena site and the site of the current BMO Harris Bradley Center. The development would occur in three stages over a 10 to 15 year period, according to the proposal.

To meet the requirements of the PERC, Head of Herd has pledged that:

  • To meet disadvantage business enterprise (DBE) goals of 25 percent participation for construction, including architecture and engineering, and 17 percent participation for professional services excluding architecture and engineering.
  • To partner with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board for workforce training and apprenticeships.
  • To meet a local employment goal of 20 to 25 percent participation for Milwaukee County residents in terms of total construction hours.
  • To pay prevailing wages on the development project.
  • To include green design elements, including: public plazas, a Bublr Bikes station, green courtyards atop a parking structure.

The first phase of the Bucks ancillary development would be built from 2015-17 and would include the new arena, a practice facility, 60,000 square feet of office space, a 1,243-space parking structure, 10,000 square feet of retail space, 98 market rate apartments and a plaza facing McKinley Avenue.

The second phase would be built from 2018-22 and would include the demolition of the BMO Harris Bradley Center and its parking structure. A new parking structure, retail space, office, space, market rate student housing and a 300-room hotel would be developed as part of that phase.

The third phase of the project would include 70,000 square feet of retail space for an urban grocery store, 398 market rate apartments, 100,000 square feet of office space, 16,000 square feet of additional retail space, a 37,000-square-foot outdoor plaza and 420 spaces of structured parking.

County officials will hold a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the War Memorial Center, 750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, to listen to public comments about the Bucks’ development plans for the Park East corridor. Bucks ownership representatives have been invited to present to the public on the proposals.

“These developments are among the most significant we have seen proposed in Milwaukee in recent years, and they have the opportunity to transform the downtown,” said Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic.

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