It may be getting colder outside, but work on the Milwaukee Bucks’ new downtown arena is showing no signs of cooling down.
As promised, the Milwaukee Bucks’ downtown arena will be enclosed by Thanksgiving, giving construction crews led by Mortenson Construction’s Milwaukee office reason to say they’ve hit yet another milestone on the $524 million project.
Team officials gave reporters a tour of the building on Friday, paying particular attention to the part of the interior that could be seen by standing near the corner of West Juneau Avenue and North 4th Street.
Addressing the group from inside the arena’s heated atrium, Bucks president Peter Feigin noted several signs of progress. The building’s glass facade has been put up, he said, and its elevators have been installed.
“I can’t believe it, if you think about this glass facade, I mean literally this was 10 days ago probably 50 percent completed, and now a completed unbelievable transparent glass wall,” he said. ” … And for all other purposes we’re really enclosed, I mean you can tell temperature-wise, it’s much different from the elements. So we are cruising along.”
One milestone project planners expect to cross in coming months, he said, is the installation of the arean’s scoreboard, electronic equipment and artwork and finishings.
“We’ve got a project with 800 pieces of artwork,” he said. “All kind of curated, most of it local, think of everything form your photographs, to your pictures, to your sculptures, that’s all a very big deal.”
Standing at the center of what will eventually be the arena’s basketball court, participants in Friday’s tour got a good idea of the new building’s size. When opened, it will be able to seat more fans than the existing Bradley Center, where the Bucks will move out of following the current NBA season.
“(It’s) 10,000 seats in the lower bowl, which is obviously a huge change from what the current building has,” said Raj Saha, general manager of the new arena, adding that the top of the bowl has 5,000 seats. “We just started putting up our center-hung cluster speakers right here, that’s going to be the audio for the bowl.”
Feigin said the project remains on schedule. The arena is expected to be ready in time for the 2018-19 NBA season.
Separately, construction recently wrapped up on a nearby training center for the team and parking garage. Work on an apartment building, which will be attached to the parking structure, is also expected to begin soon.Follow @alexzank