Wisconsin Center District approves 30-year lease, plan for $200 million in bonds for Bucks arena

WATCH NOON NEWS CONFERENCE:

Another big step has been taken in securing funding for the new Milwaukee Bucks/Marquette University arena in downtown Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a 30-year lease for the new arena. Lease payments from the Bucks will total approximately $45 million during the life of the agreement. 

“This agreement is the realization of a commitment Senator Kohl and our owners made two years ago to Bucks fans and the entire community to keep the team in Wisconsin and help revitalize downtown Milwaukee,” Bucks President Peter Feigin said in a press release.

“We’re incredibly thankful for all of the hard work that went into this historic public-private partnership from the WCD, elected officials and community leaders. This is just the beginning of our effort and we can’t wait to see the economic impact this will have on our community.”

The lease also includes a non-relocation agreement between the Bucks and the WCD that ensures the team will play all its home games in Milwaukee for the next 30 years.

“Governor Scott Walker set the goal of protecting taxpayers when negotiating this agreement. I believe we have done just that,” added WCD Board Chairman Scott Neitzel.

“In summary, this is a good deal for taxpayers, for the community, for the state, and for the Bucks.”

TODAY'S TMJ4's Pete Zervakis reports that the Wisconsin Center District board has approved a resolution which would start the process for up to $203 million in bonds which would help finance the public portion of the cost of a new arena located just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Zervakis also reports the board will vote on the official bond issue at their meeting next month.

This will take care of a major piece of the public funding aspect, which includes $250 million plus interest in funds combined from the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin through the WCD.

The overall arena cost is expected to reach nearly $525 million plus interest, with the Bucks paying for every portion not included in the public funding aspect including all cost overruns. It is set to open in the fall of 2018.

The Bucks and WCD are set to host a news conference at noon Wednesday. Follow it below.

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