Proposed design changes to one of the three proposed buildings making up an entertainment block for the new Bucks arena received the endorsement of a panel of Milwaukee officials on Monday.
The proposed tweaks to the development, which is being built near the southwest corner of Juneau Avenue and Old World Third Street and directly east of the team’s new 714,000-square-foot arena, would mostly affect the site’s northernmost building.
Officials at the Milwaukee-based firm Rinka Chung Architecture presented the new design plans to the City Plan Commission on Monday afternoon. The Bucks are calling for the northernmost building to be used as a brewery or similar attraction.
The changes are being made in an attempt to better connect the building to the adjacent 4th Street pedestrian plaza and to make the building’s north side more aesthetically pleasing to future passersby on Juneau Avenue.
The proposed tweaks call for the building’s second floor to have a wrap-around balcony and more glass. Rinka Chung officials said the building’s design is meant to give off a modern industrial feel; much of the building is made up of glass and exposed structural steel.
The latest designs no longer show three large steel kettles that were meant to represent brewing operations. Blair Williams, president of WiRED Properties, a consultant working with the Bucks on its eight-block arena-centered development area, said the kettles were taken out “for presentation purposes.”
Even so, the plan is to lease the space to a tenant that serves beer; whether that be a brewery or something else.
“I can guarantee you there will be beer there,” Williams told Plan Commission members on Monday.
The public plaza encompasses a block of 4th Street between Highland and Juneau avenues. The Bucks hope to attract visitors to this site year-round, even when there isn’t a basketball game or other event going on in the arena.
To accomplish this, the development plans would rely on gathering areas, sloped lawns and public artwork, among other features.
Even with these plans in place, the commission member Whitney Gould said she was worried the entertainment block and plaza would not go far enough to attract people throughout the year.
The project team mentioned that commercial tenants will play a role in attracting people to the new development.
Concerns aside, commission members approved the design changes unanimously. The Common Council will ultimately have to give the changes their approval.Follow @alexzank