A Tale of Two Stadiums

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How Do the Bucks’ and Warriors’ New Stadiums Stack Up?

At first glance, it might not seem like the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks have all that much in common. The Warriors, after all, own the best record in the league, start four all-stars, and employ the league’s most popular player, Steph Curry. The Bucks have spent most of the 2016-2017 season hovering around .500, and though Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is a rising star, Milwaukee is still the fifth-smallest market in the league.

And yet the two clubs have a few similarities. Both of their rosters surround a young, dynamic core with more established veterans. Both teams are coached by former players (Steve Kerr for Golden State, Jason Kidd for Milwaukee). Both teams feature at least one positionless, charismatic, multi-talented star — Draymond Green for Golden State, Antetokounmpo for the Bucks — and both teams failed to win the 2016 NBA championship.

Too soon? Maybe. Sorry, Dub Nation.

Perhaps the biggest commonality between the Bucks and the Warriors, though, is the obsolescence of their respective arenas. The Warriors’ Oracle Arena is the oldest in the league, and the Bucks’ home at BMO Harris Bradley is tied for second-oldest with The Palace at Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons. (The current iteration of Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks play, was built in 1966 but underwent an extensive rebuild from 2010 to 2013.)

Both franchises have new arenas in their immediate future. How do they compare? Here’s a breakdown:



New Bucks Arena:

(photo cred. Milwaukee Bucks)

Capacity: 18,065

Architect: Populous, HNTB, Eppstein Uhen
The New Bucks Arena (its naming rights have not yet been sold) has a striking zinc exterior that its architects describe as “inspired by the natural beauty of Wisconsin’s rivers, lakes, and forests.” The wood-like facade, somewhat reminiscent of a beer barrel, is broken up by high glass cutaways. The interior is significantly roomier than BMO Harris Bradley, while also remaining intimate — the majority of the seats are on the lower level, close to the action. Built primarily for basketball, the arena will also be able to host hockey, concerts, and circuses.


The Chase Center:

(image cred. Chase)

Capacity: 18,000

Architect: AECOM, Snøhetta, Gensler
The Chase Center looks to the opposite coast for design inspiration: Madison Square Garden. A large, circular building, with wave-like observation decks overlooking the San Francisco Bay, the Chase Center will incorporate both a basketball arena and a multipurpose theater. It will also be host to 580,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of retail. Think: big.


Location and Imprint

Both arenas are planned for downtown. The New Bucks Arena will be located just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which will be demolished within six months of the new arena’s opening in 2018. It’s part of a 30-acre development project, bounded by North Fourth and North Sixth streets, and State Street and McKinley Avenue. Part of the project is a new entertainment and dining center, to be built just east of the arena, north of Highland Avenue.

The Chase Center moves the Warriors across the bay, from their longtime home in Oakland to San Francisco. The new facility in Mission Bay will be the anchor of an 11-acre district of restaurants, bars, cafes, and businesses. Also in the plans is a 5-acre public park.

One thing the two arenas share — or don’t — is accessible parking. The City of Milwaukee’s Plan Commission has noted the severe parking shortage in the new arena plan. And Chase Center has proposed only 950 parking spots for an arena that holds 18,000. Even in a city with accessible public transportation — and the Chase Center will be a stop on a new subway line — that’s paltry.


How Much Does It Cost? And Who’s Paying For It?

The Bucks Arena is a $500 million project. Half of the money will come from the team’s new ownership group, headed by New York hedge-fund managers Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. The citizens of Wisconsin are on the hook for the other $250 million — which has angered many. There’s also concern among local residents that the new arena will drive up prices in the real estate market, making it harder to find cheap apartments in Milwaukee.

The Chase Center, on the other hand, is entirely privately funded. It’s a $1 billion project, and though terms haven’t been disclosed, it’s estimated that Chase paid over $200 million to put its name on the building.


When Will It Open for Business?

The Bucks Arena is scheduled to open in time for the 2018–2019 season. The Chase Center is shooting for 2019–2020.

Two years doesn’t seem like a lot of time for a multi-million (or billion) dollar project. But it’s an eternity in the NBA, especially for a young team still figuring out how to play together. Maybe the next time the Bucks host the Warriors, they’ll be able to make a game of it.

If not, there’s always next year.