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First steel column put up on Bucks arena

J.P. Cullen & Sons employees move the first column into position for the new Bucks arena on Monday in Milwaukee. The 10,700-pound, 36-foot-tall steel column will help support the new arena. See more photos of work on the arena district on Page 2. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

J.P. Cullen & Sons employees move the first column into position for the new Bucks arena on Monday in Milwaukee. The 10,700-pound, 36-foot-tall steel column will help support the new arena. See more photos of work on the arena district on Page 2. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

One column down; hundreds to go.

Construction crews on Monday afternoon put in place the first steel column on the new downtown Milwaukee Bucks arena, marking a significant construction milestone. Two workers helped guide a crane operator toward the spot that the 36-foot-tall, 10,700-pound column would permanently stand.

Work began on the $524 million project in June.

And aside from the arena itself, much of the eight-block Bucks development is also under construction.

J.P. Cullen & Sons is building a team training center just northwest of the arena. The Janesville-based contractor is also performing all the steel work on the arena for Mortenson Construction’s Milwaukee office, which is overseeing the entire project.

A Mortenson spokesperson said Monday that 7,673 main structural steel pieces, including 358 columns, will go up. In addition, the arena calls for 6,000 structural steel pieces – such as angle braces and stub columns – and 89,417 structural bolts. This will account for more than 8,000 tons of structural steel.

Madison-based J.H. Findorff & Son is building a new parking structure next door to the training-center site. And directly the east of the arena, the New Berlin office of Rogers, Minn.-based Veit & Co. is overseeing the demolition of an existing parking structure. In fact, while the first steel column was going up on Monday, Veit was busy tearing down concrete from the north side of the existing parking structure.

Brookfield-based Hunzinger Construction is overseeing the construction of a so-called “live block” that will replace the torn-down parking structure. Also sometimes referred to as an entertainment block, this development will be made up of various dining, entertainment and retail establishments.

There is still a lot of work to do on the Bucks arena. The project is scheduled to be finished in time for the 2018-19 NBA season.

The live block is also expected to finish in 2018, around the same time as the arena. The parking structure and training center should both wrap up in 2017.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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