NBA commissioner says arena will anchor new downtown development

A group of up-and-coming business leaders from Milwaukee- and Madison-based startups met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens today for a roundtable discussion about the future of the team and the development of a new downtown arena.

The discussion, hosted by the Bucks at The Brown Bottle in their new Schlitz Park offices, included Ian Abston of Newaukee, Crystal Morgan of Social X, Matt Cordio of Startup MKE, Sean Lowe of Urban League of YP’s, Corry Joe Biddle of Fuel Milwaukee, Matt Howard and Eric Martell of EatStreet, Steven Lee Anderson of Snapifeye, Joe Scanlin of Scanalytics, Aleks Ivanovic and Nike Ivanovic of SpotHopper, Jalem Getz of Wantable, Jon Hainstock and Ben Bartlin of Zoomshift, Tim Grove of BoothTag, and Romke De Haahn of Spreenkler.

During a meeting with the press after the discussion, Silver emphasized the “amazing” energy in the room as the group of young entrepreneurs and business leaders talked about how to develop the arena and downtown Milwaukee as a community.

“That same entrepreneurial spirit is what’s going to go into building (the Bucks) a new arena and new complex,” Silver said.

Though Silver did not comment on the specifics of the group’s conversation, he highlighted a mixed-use development as a viable option for the arena’s downtown presence.

“Arenas become in essence anchor tenants for a complex” that includes hotels, restaurant, movie theaters and residential housing, Silver said, underscoring the national trend behind mixed-use developments as settings for arenas.

“This is not just about an arena – it’s about a redevelopment for downtown Milwaukee,” Edens said, adding that there are several sites the owners could have selected that would have made for an easy choice but not necessarily the right choice.

According to Edens, the Bucks owners have been facilitating conversations with architects to create a mixed-use structure and are in the process of selecting one. However, the owners’ immediate focus hits on finding a place to build it, particularly in the next 30 to 60 days.

“It’s not entirely under our control, but we’re very focused on that time frame,” Edens said. “We think that if we get a site nailed down in the next 30 days or so that gives us a chance to design and figure out exactly what we want to build.”

The owners said they have yet to meet with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to discuss financing and the team’s future.

“I don’t think it’s really the right time,” Edens said, adding that the owners are committed to identifying a location before any other steps.

During his day in Milwaukee, Silver also took time to have lunch with a select group of local team investors, including Jon Hammes of Hammes Partners; Jim Kacmarcik of Kapco, Inc.; Craig Karmazin of Good Karma Brands; Giacomo Fallucca of Palermos; Teddy Werner of the Milwaukee Brewers; Valeria Daniels-Carter of V&J Holding Companies; Michael Barber of GE Healthcare; and Virgis Colbert of Miller Brewing Company. Also present at the lunch were Jarad Franzreb of the NBA as well as Bucks owners Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan. New York real estate developer Michael Fascitelli, also recently named to the Bucks ownership group, was also at the luncheon, along with team executives Peter Feigin and Alex Lasry.

Written by Nick Endress

Nick Endress

Nick the Quick Endress is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?