SBD/June 11, 2013/Facilities

NBA Practice Facilities: 76ers Search For Architect; Bulls Break Ground On $25M Venue

The 76ers are “searching for an architect to design a practice facility proposed for the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is less than two miles from the Wells Fargo Center, their home arena,” according to Don Muret of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. In a request for proposal, the NBA team said that it has “identified a vacant lot in the Navy Yard’s Historic Core district to construct a 55,000-square-foot facility.” If everything “goes as planned, it would open" in June '15. The facility would include “two basketball courts; fitness, training and rehabilitation space; player and coaching staff locker rooms; an audio-video review room; broadcast media facilities; a player lounge; food service; laundry; and 60 surface parking spaces.” The 76ers have “not established a construction budget.” But sources said that it could cost $20M-$25M to "build the practice facility, based on similar NBA projects.” The team “expects to sell naming rights to the facility, as stated in the proposal, and the architect designing the building will coordinate graphics and signs to support the sponsor’s branding.” The new training facility “would be much more convenient for the team, compared with the 10-mile trip from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s student activity center, where the 76ers have practiced" since '99 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/10 issue).
Bulls operations will be consolidated under one
roof when their new practice facility opens
BULL MARKET: In Chicago, Danny Ecker reported the Bulls yesterday broke ground on the team's new $25M, 60,000-square-foot practice facility "in the Lot J parking lot east of the United Center, a construction project expected to be finished in time for the 2014-15 season.” Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf said that he “likely wouldn't have chosen to build the facility in the city” had Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “not asked him to do so.” Meanwhile, Emanuel “praised the new facility as a potential boon for the area, citing the United Center's impact on the city's West Side.” Ecker noted the Bulls have practiced at the 35,000-square-foot Berto Center in Deerfield since '92 and are "shopping the building with an asking price" of $5M. The new building will feature “more state-of-the-art training amenities, including therapeutic pools, a larger video room and improved locker rooms" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 6/10). Also in Chicago, Seth Gruen notes once the facility is complete, the Bulls “will have their business and basketball operations in the same building.” The Bulls’ staff has “grown significantly in the last 20 years, necessitating a move from the Berto Center” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/11). Bulls GM Gar Forman said the new practice complex is "going to be a first-class facility that's going to give our players the opportunity to workout year-round with the best of the best." Returning to the city of Chicago allows the basketball side to work "hand-in-hand with the business side" ("Sports Talk Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 6/10).
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