Tear down the downtown Postal Center

In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they’ve conducted their annual Preview Luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum. With a new ownership team, new head coach Jason Kidd, new front-office staff and the first-round draft selection of Jabari Parker, the realization of a new era was readily apparent.

The only question now is, will it be the final era of the Milwaukee Bucks? The team is on the clock with the NBA, which says the Bucks must get a new arena built by 2017 to keep the team in Milwaukee.

Peter Feigin, newly appointed team president, went from table to table at the luncheon, introducing himself to members of the Milwaukee business community.

Businesses large and small can expect to hear from Feigin and his staff soon. Feigin said the typical NBA team sells 68 percent of its season tickets to businesses. In Milwaukee, businesses comprise just 15 to 17 percent of the team’s season ticket base.

“I promise you, we will give you a reason to change that,” Feigin said.

Feigin brings a depth of experience in both the NBA and the corporate world to the Bucks. As the chief marketing and revenue officer of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, he managed global business units and handled branding across the international entertainment company. Prior to working at Deluxe, Feigin was president and chief operating officer of Marquis Jet Partners and helped lead its acquisition by NetJets. From 1998 to 2004, he worked for the New York Knicks and rose to become vice president of marketing – increasing profits, season subscriptions and suite revenue during his tenure. Additionally, Feigin has served as a senior advisor to the Milwaukee Bucks since Wes Edens and Marc Lasry acquired the Bucks from former owner Herb Kohl.

Feigin said he was aware that the media and the public are clamoring to know the site the new owners will select as their preferred venue for a new arena. Our partners at OnMilwaukee.com reported that the Bucks are considering buying the Journal Communications buildings as an arena site.

“We will determine the best site possible for the city of Milwaukee,” Feigin said.

As I walked out of the Harley-Davidson Museum to the parking lot, I was struck by the ugly monstrosity that is the old U.S. Postal Center right across the river. The dilapidated old building serves as a concrete barrier between the museum and the Walker’s Point neighborhood on the south and downtown to the north.

Since everyone else seems to be pitching ideas, I would like to add this one to the conversation: Tear down that Postal Center. It’s a terrible waste of downtown riverfront real estate. Build the new arena in its place.

Think about it. It would unify and connect with the Harley-Davidson Museum and Walker’s Point to the south. The beautiful Sixth Street Viaduct and the Menomonee River Valley to the west. Downtown to the north. And the Historic Third Ward to the east.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of vacant industrial sites in the city or the suburbs that could accommodate the Postal Center jobs.

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.

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