Construction & Real Estate groups support downtown arena project

A group of construction and real estate groups voiced support for a downtown arena project Wednesday.  They say it's a perfect time to build the arena and they believe the Park East corridor is the perfect spot.  Jim Barry from DTZ Barry in Milwaukee said it would be tragic if the arena isn't built. Not only for Milwaukee, but the entire state. Barry says investors have shown interest in developing the areas near a new arena.

\"There have been developers interested in it over time,\" Barry said.  \"But the announcement of the Bucks arena really generated a lot of interest in this corridor so it's something that there are both in-state and out of state investors looking at very seriously.\"

Here's a release about the support:

The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR), Associated General Contractors (AGC), Building Advantage Wisconsin, and the Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin (CARW).  Together, these four organizations represent over 25,000 members, employees and employers, and over $5 billion in real estate development and sales.

Betsy Head, 2015 GMAR Chairwoman, said, \"REALTOR® sell more than simply bricks and mortar, we sell the quality of life associated with a property.  The Milwaukee Bucks are part of the quality of life beyond southeastern Wisconsin, throughout the whole state.\"

Mrs. Head continued, \"The groups that will assemble at this press conference get real estate and development.  We want everyone in our state to know that the funds contributed to this effort will grow to a billion dollar development project that will contribute millions annually in tax revenue.\"

Judy Hearst is Regional Vice President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in southeast Wisconsin said, \"The Packers aren't just a Green Bay team, the Badgers aren't just a Madison team, and the Brewers aren't just a Milwaukee team. They all belong to sports fans across the state.\"

Mike Fabishak, CEO of AGC of Greater Milwaukee, commented, \"The State of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County are at an important threshold that could positively or negatively affect the Greater Milwaukee area for many, many years to come.\"

Fabishak added, \"The development of the new Bucks arena, and the surrounding property, will provide lasting economic development and many good jobs.  When we look back a decade from now, I believe we will be praising the leadership of the public policy makers who had the foresight, and will, to move this project forward.\"

Building Advantage Executive Director Ken Kraemer noted the potential for construction opportunities working on both the arena and planned ancillary development in the Park East Corridor.  He stated, \"This is a billion dollar project that will greatly benefit economic development efforts in Milwaukee.  The project is estimated to create over 14,000 jobs - 7,000 of those could be in construction.\"

Some have questioned the funding mix and the State's involvement in the plan.  \"While its place in the State budget is being evaluated, it is undisputable that revenue generated from the arena project will benefit the Milwaukee community as well as the State,\" said Paul Galbraith, Chairman for the Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin.  Income tax from both permanent and temporary workers in the ancillary development will go to the State of Wisconsin.  \"The public has seen the plans and has the numbers - the arena is a job creator for the State, and we hope it continues to be a funding priority for lawmakers.\" 

\"While we recognize the need for some stakeholders to vet each portion of the funding proposal with constituents, we are committed to ensuring a level of urgency be applied to the process,\" said Jeff Hoffman, Vice-Chairman for CARW.  \"If the plan comes out of the budget, we will continue to advocate for the proposal.\"

Regarding comments at the recent Milwaukee County Board hearing on the sale of Park East property to the Bucks, Tammy Maddente, Executive Vice President with First Weber Group, stated, \"The value of the Park East land is derived by supply and demand.  We have the supply, but there is no demand.  Getting $1 for the land is a deal, especially considering that the Bucks will add tens of millions of dollars in taxable value.\"

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