County Board sets public hearing to discuss Bucks' proposed economic expansions in Park East corridor

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Board has announced a public hearing set for next Tuesday, June 9th to discuss proposed economic expansions in the Park East corridor. This, as we are learning more about the Milwaukee Bucks' plans for the land.

The owners of the Milwaukee Bucks submitted a proposal to Milwaukee County to buy the vacant land west of the Milwaukee River in early April. The Milwaukee Business Journal says the Bucks would buy almost 10 acres of public land in the Park East corridor for $1 -- for an envisioned $400 million in development over more than 10 years.

The Milwaukee Business Journal says the land price would be set at $1 because of the high cost of preparing the land for development, which includes dealing with underground sewers and piers from the now-demolished Park East Freeway spur. The Bucks also would commit to local hiring requirements for the Park East projects.

The owners envision 1.5 million square feet of residential, office, parking, retail and other new development on four city blocks.

"It has the potential to transform the city of Milwaukee. This is a huge land sale on the park east publicly owned land, and there`s a lot of public funds involved," Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina  Dimitrijevic said.

“Many of the conversations about these developments are happening in Madison, outside of the reach of most Milwaukee County residents. We invite the community to this hearing, which is being held at night outside of the Courthouse to maximize public participation," said Supervisor Patricia Jursik, Chairwoman of the Economic and Community Development Committee.

Including a small parcel owned by the city of Milwaukee, the county and city own almost 10 acres between West Juneau and West McKinley avenues. The owners of the Bucks would lead and invest in development of that land as a separate corporate entity from the team. When they unveiled the plan in April, Bucks owners said they are interested in recruiting other developers to partner on the projects, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.

Overall, the project will cover 24 acres of downtown, including the Park East land between West Juneau and West McKinley avenues, a site to the south where the arena would be built, and property where the BMO Harris Bradley Center currently stands.

The development has been broken into three phases:

Phase 1: 2015-2017

Phase 1 includes blocks west of North Fifth Street, plus land where the $500 million Milwaukee Bucks arena would be developed.

Westernmost block:

    Block between Sixth and Fifth streets:

      Phase 2: 2018-2022

      Phase two would involve demolition of the existing BMO Harris Bradley Center and neighboring parking structure.

      Two blocks of Park East land between Fifth and Old World Third streets:

        Bradley Center site:

          Phase 3: 2022-2027

          The final two blocks of Park East land would be used for parking.

          Old World Third Street:

            Between Fourth and Fifth streets:

              The owners of Buck Bradleys, located nearby, have high hopes about reinvigorating downtown Milwaukee.

              "With this vision they have, we're just 100% on board. This will be an economic benefit and people need to look at the big picture," Wally Paget said.

              “These developments are among the most significant we have seen proposed in Milwaukee in recent years, and they have the opportunity to transform the downtown,” said Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “We look forward to learning more about the proposals and projected job creation for Milwaukee County residents.”

              The hearing will kick off with presentations on the proposal at 5:30 p.m., and start receiving testimony at 6:00 p.m. from the public. Milwaukee County officials, including the County Executive and the Director of Administrative Services, as well as Milwaukee Bucks ownership representatives have been invited to present to the public on the proposals.

              “Residents are encouraged to join the discussion about this project that involves significant public financing,” Dimitrijevic said. “We look forward to hearing from you next week.”