Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Council Approves Arena, Hammes Design Changes

Full speed ahead on arena, office building, more downtown changes.

By - Mar 1st, 2017 05:19 pm
Bucks Plaza - View Looking Northeast toward 4th street plaza

Bucks Plaza – View Looking Northeast toward 4th street plaza

The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved design changes to two major construction projects underway in Downtown. The changes to the new arena and Hammes Company office building were previously endorsed by the council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee and the City Plan Commission. The change to the arena project involves adding more signage to the arena’s exterior, including an 85-foot long digital board and an interactive monument sign. The Hammes building, now under construction, will see its height reduced as the signature dome is lowered five-feet, seven-inches and nearby windows are standardized.

This isn’t the last time the Milwaukee Bucks arena district project will come before the council. An apartment building announced last week will need design approval, as will virtually everything the Bucks intend to build in the former Park East Freeway corridor. The Hammes project will not need further approvals until the real estate firm is ready to move ahead with the second phase of the project.

Revised Bucks Arena Design

The package of arena modifications includes everything from modifying the location of trees and lights in the pedestrian plaza connecting the Live Block entertainment center and arena to introducing a 15-foot-tall and 85-foot long sign on the building’s northwest corner.

That long LED sign will bend around the building’s northwest corner. It will be built by Daktronics as part of a partnership announced in February. Bucks president Peter Feigin previously told the zoning committee that the sign is part of an approximately $7 million deal with Daktronics that will include what will be the National Basketball Association’s largest square video board hanging above the court.

The pedestrian plaza will also include a 12-foot-tall sign which will read “BUCKS” in large letters. The sign is intended as a bit of place making for the large plaza being built over the former N. 4th St. According to Populous architect Gabe Braselton the sign will be a great location for fans to take photos, with the east facing sign reading BUCKS to those approaching the arena, and the sign’s west face including seating built on it where fans can sit and interact with the sign and the scene. The seating component will be built of wood.

Want a job working on the arena? With work well underway, much hiring still remains to be done. Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs noted at the meeting that a job fair for work on the project will take place at the Hillside Terrace Family Resource Center, 1452 N. 7th St., on March 9th at 5:30 p.m.

Construction of the $524 million arena complex, which is currently known as the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, pending a naming rights deal, is well underway. Learn more about the arena project from our most recent installment of Friday Photos tracking the arena’s construction progress. More information on the design modifications can be found in my article from early February covering the presentation of the modifications to the City Plan Commission.

Revised Hammes Building

Hammes Revisions

Hammes Revisions

It didn’t take more than five minutes for the council’s zoning committee to approve a modification to the proposed, classical design for Hammes Company’s new downtown headquarters. The full council beat that, with zero floor debate on the matter. The building is being constructed at 210 E. Knapp St., a vacant lot in the Park East corridor on the north end of downtown. After developing the five-story, 94,000 square-foot building, Hammes will relocate their Brookfield office and some 80 employees to the new digs.

At the committee hearing area alderman and committee member Nik Kovac reiterated his support for the design, noting that plan to lower the dome on the building’s southwest corner “makes the dome seem more connected to the rest of the building.” Kovac stated that “I said from the beginning that I think it’s good to have a range of styles Downtown.” Calling that section of Downtown a “nearly blank canvas,” Kovac said he welcomed the diversity the building would bring to N. Water St., while noting that he also approved of the other buildings being built along N. Water St.

More about the Hammes HQ

Read more about Hammes HQ here

More about the New Bucks Arena

Read more about New Bucks Arena here

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