Walk by the partially demolished BMO Harris Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee and it is still easy to recognize the building as a former sports arena. In late March, onlookers could see the escalators in the east atrium that took fans to the upper levels. Signage for seating and sponsors like MillerCoors LLC and Harley-Davidson Inc. was visible from the west side.
The image of a former arena will not last much longer, however. By the end of May, crews expect to complete the vertical demolition of the building, according to Mike Abrams, senior director for CAA Icon, the project manager.
Demolition of the Bradley Center started last fall with volunteers working with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity removing and salvaging 52,500 pounds of reusable materials. Brookfield-based Hunzinger Construction Co. and Rogers, Minnesota-based Veit & Co. Inc. have been working on the demolition.
The process took a big step forward in January when crews used explosives to bring down the building’s roof. Since then, the roof materials have been cleaned up and processed, as has the western wall of the building, Abrams said. Once the vertical demolition is finished, crews will turn to removing the building foundation over the summer.
The future of the Bradley Center site is less certain, however. The latest renderings from the Milwaukee Bucks depict a mix of offices, a full-service hotel, a movie theater, residential and retail space at the site, but no specific plans have been announced.