Silver meets with Milwaukee officials about arena

MILWAUKEE (AP) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver met with Milwaukee officials and local business leaders on Tuesday about a new arena for the Bucks.

Silver and Wes Edens, one of two New York billionaires who bought the Bucks from Former Sen. Herb Kohl last April, said they were optimistic that progress was being made.

”We accomplished a lot today,” Silver said. ”There’s a tremendous amount of positive energy in the community. There are always bumps in the road, but there’s no doubt here that the people, the fans, the elected officials, they all recognize the value this team brings to the community.”

Edens and co-owner Marc Lasry have committed $100 million toward a new facility. Kohl pledged another $100 million when he announced the sale, and the ownership group has brought on a number of local investors. But with the price tag for a new home hovering between $400-$500 million, filling the funding gap with public money has been a contentious issue.

Edens said his group is focused, for now, on selecting a site for a new arena. Several possibilities are in play, and Edens is hoping to have a site announced within the next month.

”It’s not entirely under our control but we’re very focused on that time frame,” Edens said. ”If we can 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 and then we can move on to the business of financing and ultimately, construction.”

Under terms of the purchase agreement, the NBA can buy out Edens and Lasry if construction on a new arena has not begun by the end of 2017.