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Mid-America Blog

What’s in a Downtown Sports Arena?

The obvious answer is easy: sporting events, professional basketball, college basketball, hockey, concerts, high school athletic events, the circus, WWF wrestling, conventions and many other events where a large venue is required. The not-so-obvious answer is what a downtown sports venue does for a city. As the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin take on the challenge of building a new NBA arena by 2017 to retain the Milwaukee Bucks, they face many challenges and opportunities that many other cities across the country have also faced, accepted and conquered. The states, and specifically the cities, that are home to our other Mid-America offices – Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota – have all risen to the challenge and investment of an urban downtown area with sports facilities. 

For instance, Michigan is home to both Ford Field and Tiger Stadium. Additionally, construction is beginning on the new Red Wings Stadium in downtown Detroit. Minnesota has the $1 billion Vikings Stadium. Chicago has the United Center on West Madison Street and Wrigley Field is currently undergoing substantial renovations to make it comparable to major league stadiums for the next 50 years. What these all have in common is they are a center piece of “touches” throughout our respective communities.

Retaining major sports and entertainment in our urban areas provides multiple opportunities for people in the region, as well as the state, to visit the city.  Obviously, the expectation is beyond the event. Money will be spent on other venues such as hotels, restaurants and stores. The other benefit of these sports and entertainment venues is the city dwellers, particular the millennials, that choose to live around such an active and vibrant venue. Much like retailers with their omni-channel merchandising that creates multiple “touches” with the consumer, a downtown arena also promotes multiple “touches” that make a city dynamic. 

As the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin face the challenges of funding and developing a new NBA arena for the Milwaukee Bucks it should not be lost on the politicians that major sports is a driving force of how people and business owners view their communities and define a “major city”. The residents of Greater Milwaukee are very supportive of the Milwaukee Bucks and have been since 1968. They expect this to remain a “Major League” city and the arena to be funded and built soon. Similar to the states in which our other Mid-America offices call home, we hope this becomes a reality so our city can enjoy the benefits of a new urban arena.  

Dan Cohen interviews Bucks' president, Peter Feigin, at CARW
Image of Dan Cohen interviewing Bucks' President, Peter Feigin.

Rendering of new Milwaukee Bucks arena and surrounding area.

Rendering of new Milwaukee Bucks arena and surrounding area.

Rendering of new Milwaukee Bucks arena and surrounding area.

Daniel Cohen
| Principal
Mid-America Real Estate – Wisconsin, L.L.C.
648 N. Plankinton Ave., Suite 264 | Milwaukee, WI  53203
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