Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Farewell Bradley Center

Say goodbye, Bango. The last of the arena was demolished Friday morning.

By - May 31st, 2019 02:33 pm
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The last of the Bradley Center has come down. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The last of the Bradley Center has come down. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Fortress on Fourth is no more.

While less than 50 yards away the Milwaukee Bucks were debuting a new fountain outside Fiserv Forum, the last of the Bradley Center was toppled Friday morning (covering this reporter in a wave of concrete dust, the last residue of the old Bucks).

It’s been less than six months since a contractor blew the roof off the building, signaling the start of major demolition. And now all that’s left is a pile of rubble.

The end goal is for 90 percent of the structure, including everything from bathroom partitions to the massive scoreboard, to be recycled or reused according to CAA Icon’s Mike Abrams. The firm is representing the Milwaukee Bucks on the construction of Fiserv Forum and demolition of the Bradley Center. And judging by the layout of the site, they’re making good progress towards that goal. Materials, including miles of rebar, have been separated and are piled up to be hauled away.

Before the heavy demolition started, Habitat for Humanity’s salvage crew guided the removal of luxury box seats, team lockers and other fixtures and sold them for affordable prices at its three area ReStore shops (one of the visiting NBA lockers can be now be found in our sister business, Urban Milwaukee: The Store). A team from Milwaukee Public Schools also was able to salvage a number of institutional items ranging from bathroom partitions and sinks to drinking fountains and door hardware.

The remaining seats, thousands upon thousands of them, were sent to a local recycling firm to be dismantled and recycled. No market was found for them in sufficient numbers according to Abrams.

What comes once the 7.2-acre site is completely cleared? “We just started to really think about what are the possibilities,” said team president Peter Feigin. “You can bet that we will leverage it and use it.” Feigin, in an interview Friday morning, said it’s likely to be maintained as crushed gravel through the next basketball season. The team can’t rush to build something on the site because the large lot is needed for the July 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Once that’s over the Bucks will have grander plans than crushed gravel. The team recently unveiled highly conceptual renderings for the development of the site and other nearby lots under team control.

The Bucks were required to pay to demolish the formerly state-owned structure as part of the arena financing deal. The stadium, deemed obsolete by NBA standards, opened in 1988.

Brookfield-based Hunzinger Construction is supervising the work for the Milwaukee Bucks, while Veit & Co., a Minnesota-based firm, is performing the demolition work.

Can’t get enough Bradley Center demolition? Watch video of the roof being destroyed from both the outside and inside.

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