Milwaukee Bucks invite minority business leaders to participate in their $1-billion downtown arena project

March 17, 2016


Former Milwaukee Alderman Willie Wade addressed “Build the Future,” a business information session held Monday, March 14, 2016 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center by the Milwaukee Bucks for local businesses interested in participating in the $1-billion downtown arena construction project. Wade, who resigned his seat on the city council in February to accept a position as vice president of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, was one of eight speakers. A diverse audience, which included local small business owners and representatives from large out-of-state corporations, attended the session.
During his presentation, Wade elaborated on earlier comments made by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in which he praised the Bucks ownership for agreeing to include all arena-related construction projects in the city’s Residence Preferred Project, which sets aside specific percentages of all jobs for Milwaukee residents and also provides apprenticeship training in various building trades. These opportunities can lead to life-changing experiences with many more than just those hired benefitting, Wade said, adding that the goal was to create a workforce in Milwaukee that is ready to meet the needs of the construction boom in Milwaukee.
Despite promises there would be many opportunities for local small business owners to participate in the project, a pamphlet provided to attendees left unclear how that process would occur, because the project has been subdivided into three building phases. There are four construction bid opportunities for the new Bucks Training Center and two construction bid packages for the parking structure. The number of bid packages for the arena has yet to be determined, according to the pamphlet.