Oshkosh Arena listed for sale after years of local controversies – WPR

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The Oshkosh Arena — home of the Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League team — is for sale, and local officials hope the facility finds a second life under new ownership. 

The arena has faced a slew of local controversies over the last five years, ranging from its owner filing for bankruptcy to fire code violations. Now, the facility has been listed for sale on commercial real estate website LoopNet.

The arena, built in 2017, hosts 24 Wisconsin Herd basketball games each year, along with concerts, comedy shows and other events, according to a document attached to the property listing

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The facility has an agreement with a company to manage the arena for the next decade, as well as a lease agreement with the Wisconsin Herd through 2026 with options to extend the term until 2028, the document said. 

In a statement, Greg Pierce, president of the arena’s owner, Fox Valley Pro Basketball, said the addition of a management firm factored into the decision to list the property for sale.

“This upgrade will translate into a higher profile event schedule for the community and integrate the Oshkosh metropolitan area into the national entertainment scene,” he said. “As this transformation is taking place the time is right for new ownership to step in to take the Arena to the next level.”

Arena hit with financial problems

The arena has found itself embroiled in local controversies since 2019, when Fox Valley Pro Basketball filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Amid those proceedings, Pierce was sued by a creditor for unpaid construction costs. 

The suit settled out of court in 2021, and Fox Valley Pro Basketball emerged from bankruptcy in 2020. The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin bought the naming rights to the stadium in 2017, but pulled out of the agreement in 2021 citing difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The arena made local headlines again last year, when it was shut down for a week over fire code violations. The Oshkosh Police Department locked employees out of the arena and posted warning signs outside the building. 

Local officials see opportunity in potential arena sale

Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff said the city has been aware for some time that the arena’s current owner group might be interested in selling.

“From a venue standpoint, it has proven to be very successful,” he said. “It’s really just a matter of, can we find the right group to manage it?”

Rohloff said the city would like to see the arena sold to owners with experience operating an event venue. He said successful sites require booked events 200 days a year. 

He said the city views the arena as an “anchor” in what it calls the “Sawdust District” on the south shore of the Fox River.

“This represents a great opportunity to re-envision what the potential for the arena can be to make the entire Sawdust District a successful entertainment and residential venue for the city of Oshkosh,” Rohloff said.

Tricia Rathermel, president and chief executive of the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp., said the Wisconsin Herd has been a good community partner, and the events hosted by the arena have helped bring more entertainment options to the city.

“Maybe some different leadership might bring a different perspective, but I think that overall it is an asset,” she said. “I think that anyone who comes in and looks at this property as a potential buyer is going to see the asset that it is to our community.”

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