Bucks owners hope to have site for new arena in 3-4 months

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When Wes Edens and Marc Lasry purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for a then-record $550 million it came with one string attached — they had to keep the team in Milwaukee and get a new arena built. If things are not approved an on the way by 2017 the team can be purchased by the league and sold to new owners (mostly likely in the area rather than moved to Seattle or another destination).

Edens and Lasry are taking the first steps toward that new arena, talking with the city about locations, reports Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel.

The new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks hope to identify a site for a new multipurpose arena in the next three or four months, according to Ald. Bob Bauman….

“They have a very tight timetable,” Bauman said. “They want to have a site identified in three or four months. Then they want to do the engineering and design. Then they will focus on the financials.”

The Bucks owners, who live in New York, are trying to learn the lay of the land in Milwaukee — where there is land and where they could get approvals for a stadium (and if it is like every other recent one some retail and residential development around it).

The real question with the arena will be paying for it, this will likely cost at least $500 million. Edens and Lasry have said they would combine to pitch in $100 million, former Bucks owner Herb Kohl pitched in $100 million, and the six minority investors in the team also are expected to kick in some cash for the development.

But to get this done they are going to want some form of public financing. That will prove to be tricky. There is built in opposition to this, particularly any kind of tax (sales or otherwise). If that does become a sticking point, it will lead to some tough decisions for the league about the future of the franchise. Commissioner Adam Silver, even more than former commissioner David Stern, doesn’t want to see franchises move, but this could be his biggest test case, depending on how things shake out over the next few years.