Zepnick proposes Menomonee Valley site for new arena

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:15 pm

State Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) today added the latest wrinkle to the civic discussion about where and how to finance and build a new arena, proposing a new location in the Menomonee River Valley.

Zepnick sent a letter to new Milwaukee Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, urging them to consider building the arena north of the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

Zepnick said the project could be funded by “a more traditional TIF (tax incremental financing)” model. The new arena should be built west of the 16th Viaduct on the current site of Marquette Athletic Fields, which could be relocated, Zepnick said.

“The location I have in mind, follows the thinking and planning that I believe is necessary for a successful project regardless of where it ends up: careful and minimal use of public dollar with no tax increase, connecting to a larger vision for Milwaukee’s downtown, seeking out a distressed or ‘under-utilized’ piece of land, and importantly strong connections to the Interstate and transit system,” Zepnick wrote. “Not one penny of this would come from a sales tax increase.”

The existing BMO Harris Bradley Center site could be sold to help offset some of the construction costs for a new arena, Zepnick said.

“Similarly, that area of downtown would become cleared for construction when it comes to an expanded Convention Center. Re-opening parts of Fourth Street or Fifth Street as well as Highland Avenue and using transit as a connector, could mean a seamless ‘district’ which goes from Amtrak station/Grand Avenue on the South and the existing Wisconsin Center footprint, all the way north to the Pabst development and Park East Corridor,” Zepnick said. “This would allow for hotel, commercial and retail developments, and importantly housing. Expanded downtown housing is critical to improving the utilization of land west of the river and would help bridge Wisconsin Avenue up to McKinley where the new Interstate ramps effectively serve a future marketplace at Park East. This bodes well for King Drive development over the long haul.”

Last week Milwaukee Alderman Joe Davis Sr. proposed increasing the city’s bonding authority by $100 million during the upcoming 2015 budget process to give the city more flexibility to help finance a new arena.

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