It took Herb Kohl around four months to sell the Milwaukee Bucks.
But it will take a lot longer to get public and private support to build a multipurpose arena for the Bucks and other tenants.
Kohl sold his pride and joy for $550 million on Wednesday and managed to talk Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens into putting up at least $100 million to match the $100 million the former senator plans to contribute toward a new arena.
But Kohl, who has owned the team since 1985 and served four terms in the U.S. Senate, is a realist about what he repeatedly said would be a big hill to climb: persuading taxpayers there has to be some public financing to build a new multipurpose arena that would be expected to cost at least $400 million.
The real work has just begun.
In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Kohl said it was understood that any talk of new taxes would have to wait until after the November elections.
"Public officials are very concerned about voting on sales taxes or whatever," he said. "Understandably. You have to have a pretty good proposition if you are a public official before you suggest to your constituents that you need support. We have enough time to figure that out, think about what's best."
Kohl said he did not know how much more public and private money might be needed.
"The more money we can bring to the table before we go to the public, obviously, the better it will be."
Kohl made it clear that without a new arena, the Bucks would be gone. And, he said, millions of dollars in potential downtown development would go away, too.
"Ultimately, if we don't get to a new arena, yes, we will lose our team," Kohl said. "The money will go away."
The NBA has imposed a 2017 deadline to have an arena in place or have one under construction. But a Bucks official said Wednesday no new extension has been granted.
Timothy Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said the challenge of getting public financing was a given.
"There's no question at some point we will need public financing. This makes that 'ask,' as the senator put it, more reasonable," Sheehy said. "There is more private-sector money coming."
So far, public opposition to any form of taxation to finance and build a new arena has been strong. County boards in Ozaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties are on record in opposition to any kind of regional tax to fund a new arena or expanded convention center.
Edens said his goal would be to plan, design and fund an arena over the next year or so. "And then build it over a couple of years," he said.
"We've had a lot of experience with real estate and infrastructure projects," Edens said.
Gov. Scott Walker said Edens and Lasry had not made any specific requests of his administration.
"They have asked to have, at some point in the future, a meeting with me and some other members of the Legislature to talk about some of their ideas as to what may or may not be the public role if there is one. But it's pretty premature at this point," Walker said.
The governor also said he had some ideas about potential locations for a new stadium.
"I remember in the past looking a lot at the Park East corridor," he said. "It's an important part not only of Milwaukee's economy, but the economy of the whole. We saw years ago in the area near Miller Park and the positive impact it's had on the area of Blue Mound Road, the corridor there and the establishments there."
Kohl said he would not be the decision-maker for an arena site.
"Likely, if it doesn't get built, it doesn't need competitors," Kohl said. "So it would not augur well for the BMO Harris Bradley Center and the U.S. Cellular Arena to be in competition. I'm not the decision-maker. I'm just speculating."
Still, Kohl was pleased with the turn of events.
"I think we got a big boost today," he said