Bradley Center demolition has started. The vast majority of the work is being done inside.
Nicole Derong, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
For 30 years, the Bradley Center reverberated with cheers for Milwaukee Bucks players and music from top-notch performers such as Prince and the Rolling Stones.
Today, the vacant building echoes with the warning beeps of heavy equipment and thumping of machines bashing away at the seating bowl.
The demolition of the arena, which closed in late summer, is proceeding at a brisk pace, though it’s not apparent to a casual observer.
The vast majority of the work is being done inside, but a look from outside the fence surrounding the building reveals a busy deconstruction zone.
Trucks hauling debris leave at regular intervals from an entrance along West State Street. Through that door one can see and hear construction equipment pounding away inside.
On the southwest plaza Monday — an area once used for VIP parking — workers loaded big pieces of equipment removed from the building.
The Milwaukee Bucks obtained control over the old arena as part of the agreement that led to the construction of Fiserv Forum, their new $524 million home next door. The Bucks see the site as a crucial part of the development potential around their new arena, and can’t wait for the old building to be gone.
The Bucks took control of the Bradley Center on Sept. 1, shortly before the first events at Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks hired Veit & Co. Inc., a Minneapolis firm with a New Berlin office, to dismantle the Bradley Center. Engineers with Hunzinger Construction Co. also are involved in the demolition and work on the entertainment block just east of the main entrance to the new arena.
The Bucks declined a request for journalists to view the Bradley Center demolition from the inside.
By early spring, exterior demolition will begin. Plans call for that work to begin on the northwest corner of the building — the furthest possible spot from the Fiserv Forum entrances — with clawing machines working their way inward.
Before that takes place, some additional loud noises might be coming from inside the old arena.
Demolition contractors plan to use explosives to help “cut the steel structure to help lower it to a safe elevation,” Bucks spokesman Barry Baum said.
Baum stressed that the use of explosives would be limited and not cause the implosion of the entire building.
“They’re going to use the explosives to knock off the very top of the roof,” said Bucks President Peter Feigin.
“In January, the charges will go off to kind of implode the very top of the roof,” he said. “The idea is to pop the columns apart from the inside.”
Feigin said he initially thought the event would be exciting and dramatic but was persuaded otherwise.
“They told us this was kind of a non-event,” he said.
Demolition is expected to conclude at the end of the summer.
Demolition of the Bradley Center in Milwaukee began this week from the inside, repurposing items for Habitat for Humanity.
Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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