- The Phoenix City Council has agreed to help finance the $230 million renovation of the 30-year-old downtown Talking Stick Resort Arena, home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and other live events.
- The city will kick in $150 million toward the project, and an affiliate of the Suns, Phoenix Area Development Limited Partnership, will cover the balance and any cost overruns plus construction of a new practice facility expected to cost between $25 million and to $50 million. The project’s targeted completion date is August 2021 and work will include seating bowl and signage upgrades; renovations to event-level areas, concourses and suites; mechanical, electric and plumbing systems upgrades; and exterior work on the roof and building envelope.
- The city’s share will come from the Sports Facilities Fund. The council also authorized the issuance of bonds to fund Phoenix’s share of the costs. The deal will keep the Suns at the arena until at least 2037.
The last few years have seen arena renovations range from straightforward to so complex that they are more comparable to a ground-up construction project.
The NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, for example, are in the midst of a $185 million renovation of the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. The project started out with a budget of $140 million, but the team agreed to contribute an extra $45 million for enhanced upgrades. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, is funding the project upfront, but the team’s agreed-upon share is now $115 million. Whiting-Turner is the general contractor for the project, and construction crews earlier this month marked the "topping out” of the structural steel portion of the renovation. The arena is open for other events but is scheduled to be ready for the Cavaliers this fall.
Like many other projects with public financing, the contractors on the renovation must meet workforce diversity goals, and according to Arena Digest, the construction companies involved in the project have exceeded their targets.
On an entirely different level is the $850 million overhaul of the KeyArena in Seattle. The city owns the property but has handed over the renovation and operations duties to developer Oak View Group. Mortensen Construction provided initial preconstruction services for the project but took over general contractor duties from the joint venture of Skanska USA and AECOM Hunt in December. The decision to part ways was mutual and amicable, according to all parties.
Also last month, the city secured an NHL team to play in the new arena, which should be complete in the spring of 2021.