Update: What's happening with 7 of the most popular US sports venue projects
Professional sports mean big bucks for team owners, their sponsors and associated businesses. And there are few better ways to showcase a team and win fan support than to build a brand new stadium with up-to-date features and high-tech amenities.
Right now, several of these projects are under way. Check in with some of the most popular stadium projects underway with this Construction Dive progress report.
Atlanta Falcons' Mercedes-Benz Stadium
It's been almost a year since construction crews installed the last steel beam for the fixed roof at this $1.5 billion stadium. At the time, engineers anticipated that the venue's most unique feature, an eight-blade retractable roof, would be ready for the Falcons' first game day — that wasn't the case.
The roof has been a source of frustration for project officials since the production stage. At one point in the process, the team had 32 plants across the U.S. and Canada manufacturing the roof's 500-ton petals simultaneously in hopes of meeting the schedule. Design changes and other issues related to the retractable roof reportedly have helped add more than $200 million to the stadium's price tag. Though it has been installed — and has even been opened and closed successfully – the Oculus-inspired roof will remain closed for the rest of 2017, with the exception of next week's Atlanta United soccer match.
Las Vegas Raiders
Though it has yet to break ground, the project has provided plenty of drama so far.
When NFL owners denied the Raiders, then an Oakland franchise, a move to Los Angeles in 2016, the team almost immediately set its sights on Sin City, a location team owners had previously counted out because of its gambling environment. The League approved the move in March after the team managed to secure state and local funding for the new $2 billion stadium, in addition to lining up private investors willing to help foot the bill.
The project briefly found itself in jeopardy when one of its first and biggest supporters, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, reneged on his pledge to kick in a $650-million investment after a reported disagreement over how the team was moving forward with a stadium lease. The Raiders eventually secured a loan to fill the gap Adelson left in their financing plan, though not without causing project disruptions. The stadium project cleared yet another hurdle when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that its 225-foot height did not interfere with air traffic in and out of nearby McCarran International Airport.
Mortenson Construction and McCarthy Building Companies have been tapped to manage the construction and, to do so, have taken on an accelerated 30-month schedule. In addition to the new stadium, the Nevada Department of Transportation is gearing up to start $900 million of infrastructure improvements around the site, which could see new highway interchanges, carpool lanes and direct-access ramps. The Raiders expect to start game play in their new venue in 2020.
Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park
The Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, are set to share the new $3 billion Inglewood, CA, venue, though the teams still have a ways — and perhaps a few more hurdles — to go before that deal becomes a reality.
A lengthy FAA review process resulted in the team having to cough up $29 million worth of additional air control and radar equipment to ensure that planes can navigate safely around the stadium during landing and take-off at nearby Los Angeles International Airport. While that review was a drag on overall progress, Mother Nature dealt the lethal blow to the team's plans by dumping record rainfall over Los Angeles. The surge in unexpected rain waters left up to 15 feet of standing water on the site, putting a halt to critical work. As a result, the teams have pushed back their debut in the new stadium to the 2020-2021 season.
Globe Life Field
The Texas Rangers are finally getting ready to break ground on their new $1.1 billion ballpark just a few parking lots away from their existing field.
The team unveiled the latest designs from HKS at the end of September. In addition to the much-anticipated air conditioning, the stadium will feature a clear retractable roof to give fans an outdoor feel. The park won't just host a new baseball stadium, though. Construction is already in progress on the $250 million Texas Live! mixed-use entertainment complex located next to the new park.
Project officials expect Globe Life Field to be ready in time for the 2020 season.
The Chase Center
After lengthy legal challenges based on the California Environmental Quality Act threatened to kill the project altogether, the Golden State Warriors finally won their day in court late last November. Local activists argued that construction and operation of the Chase Center would create too much noise, traffic and pollution, thereby disturbing patients in nearby hospitals and interfering with emergency room access.
Overseen by a joint venture between Mortenson Construction and Clark Construction, the team broke ground on the new $1 billion basketball arena in early January. According to footage captured by drone flyovers of the property this month, there has been a significant amount of site work completed thus far, indicating the project is on track to meet its 2019 opening date.
Detroit soccer stadium
It looks like Quicken Loans founder and billionaire Dan Gilbert might get to build a $1 billion soccer stadium and mixed-use development exactly where he wants — on the site of an incomplete jail project in downtown Detroit. The stadium would cost up to $250 million, and the adjacent complex would include a hotel, office building and residential high-rise, as well as retail, dining and entertainment components.
After making it known to county and city officials that he was willing to build a more expensive jail complex elsewhere downtown, and at no extra cost to taxpayers, Gilbert's development company Rock Ventures submitted a formal proposal for the project and land swap. So, too, did the contractor who is under contract to complete the original jail. Still, Wayne County officials have said they favor Gilbert's deal.
Miami soccer stadium
With the star power of English soccer legend David Beckham leading the consortium behind this project, some might have guessed it would be easy to snap up a site and get a new soccer stadium underway. Not so.
More than one land deal fell through in Beckham's search for a suitable Miami site since he began the search in 2014. Three years later, he and his partners struck a $9 million deal with Miami-Dade officials in June to purchase a three-acre site in the city's Overtown neighborhood — a deal that will add to the six acres it already has there. As part of the purchase agreement, the Beckham group agreed to spend at least $175 million of private money on the project and create at least 50 full-time jobs.
The plan faced almost immediate backlash, with critics citing concerns about congestion and other traffic problems with the project's lack of onsite parking. One wealthy activist, Bruce Matheson, filed a lawsuit trying to block the sale, claiming that the city had been wrong in not seeking out other bids. Fortunately for the Beckham group, a judge threw out that lawsuit earlier this month, in a move that should let officials push forward with construction plans.
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