SBD/October 25, 2013/Facilities

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  • Madison Square Garden Unveils Final Phase Of Its $1B Makeover, Including Two Bridges

    MSG officials held a ribbon cutting on Thursday to mark the occasion

    Two new floating bridges at MSG are "a spectacular feat of imagination and engineering -- and will revolutionize the way spectators view sports," according to Jennifer Gould Keil of the N.Y. POST. BBB Architects Principal Murray Beynon said, "These are the most unique seats in a sports arena. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world." The Chase Bridges, which "hang from the ceiling, are a symbolic reminder of the world famous suspension bridges that connect the island of Manhattan to the rest of the world." They flow "seamlessly into the bowl, providing an incredible vantage point." MSG President & CEO Hank Ratner said, "We’ve built a brand-new arena inside the icon and we kept the flavor and feel of all the memories that have occurred here." Ratner added that MSG will "now have improved sightlines for everyone, and that the bridges will include public concourses so that everyone at the Garden will feel like they are in a club-like environment." The new Chase Square Seventh Avenue entrance has "nearly doubled in size, adding a new retail store, a broadcast location for MSG Network and a dedicated area for the Garden of Dreams Foundation." About 900 people "can walk safely on the bridges, which will be an open concourse". They are meant for people "to stroll around, like a promenade." Only "a limited number of bridge seats are left for purchase." In total, there are "355 seats on one bridge and about 75 on the other available to the public, with the rest reserved for media." But less than 50 seats "are available for each team per Knicks and Rangers game" (N.Y. POST, 10/25).

    FIRST LOOKS: In N.Y., Justin Tasch writes the new bridges "passed all the eye tests." The 10th-floor bridges "don’t hang over the playing surface and are suspended much closer to the north and south ends of the arena." Most notable for "ticket holders with seats behind the new bridges is that their view of the action is not obstructed whatsoever." Views of the new central scoreboard and videoboard "are obstructed, but three large video screens attached to the outer side of each bridge will have all the same graphics and video" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/25). On Long Island, Neil Best notes the public will "get its first look at the completed Garden when the Knicks host the Bobcats in a preseason game Friday night, followed by the Rangers' home opener against the Canadiens on Monday." Numerous athletes and entertainers attended the grand opening of the renovated MSG, including Hockey HOFer Mark Messier and Basketball HOFers Walt Frazier and Willis Reed. Frazier called the makeover "magnificent." He added, "This is going to resonate throughout the league for free agents" (NEWSDAY, 10/25).

    NOT ALL IMPRESSED: The N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola tweeted, "Yes the place looks nice. But honestly it also resembles the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis. ... The concourses needed to be updated but inside should have stayed the same. The old design made it unique. Now, it is the Fed Ex Forum East. ... I'll admit it they lost me once they removed the 'Willis Reed Tunnel.' Because, you know, that is the most iconic moment in Knick history" (TWITTER.com, 10/25). SNY's Adam Schein asked, "Did the Garden really need renovation?" SNY's Chris Carlin said, "I don't really know that it did. They've got a skywalk there. I don't really know what the point of that is? To look down on the game? I don’t get it" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 10/24).

    CAN'T WAIT: In N.Y., Paolina Rella writes the "much-anticipated new amenities offer a wow factor that starts from the moment you arrive." But it is "not just the spectacular new space that will be attracting visitors -- the new restaurant and food concessions will have people cheering." Ratner said, "Along with enhanced menu options and upgrades for all of our food offerings, we’re proud that some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world will offer exclusive items in the completely transformed Garden as part of our signature collection, which will only be available to fans attending our events" (N.Y. POST, 10/25). Also in N.Y., Zach Braziller writes, "Make no mistake about it ... the Knicks are thrilled to be back home and see the new and improved MSG, get a first look at their plush locker room, the huge scoreboard that will hang from the ceiling, and the other new additions." Knicks G Iman Shumpert said, "I know it’s going to be dope." Unlike the Rangers -- their "co-tenants who were forced to play their first 10 regular-season games on the road -- the Knicks will see a lot of their new building out of the gate, with four of their first six games" at the Garden (N.Y. POST, 10/25).

    ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes while there is "much to admire" about MSG, the "reality is that even before the last seat was put in place, the Garden had received an eviction notice." The City Council in July voted "to let the Garden operate where it is for 10 more years, in hopes that plans will be developed to build a new Pennsylvania Station that doesn’t feel like a dungeon." Ratner on Thursday said, "Today is not about the special permit; it's about the transformation. We can talk about that another time." Ratner also "did not want to discuss the tax exemption or whether the Garden needed it, what with all the new revenue it will make." Sandomir: "If you’re [MSG Exec Chair James] Dolan, you fight as hard to keep the Garden from being torn down as you did a decade ago to stop plans for a West Side stadium for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Jets" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/25).

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  • Falcons' Latest Design Plans For New Stadium Have Massive Concourse Windows, Open Roof

    Cost estimates for the Falcons' new stadium are thought to be well over $1B

    The Falcons and 360 Architecture on Thursday unveiled the latest designs for the team's new stadium, and not only will the facility's roof open, but plans also "call for massive concourse windows that can be opened to create the feel of an outdoor facility," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority BOD on Tuesday is "scheduled to review and vote on the plans ... and an updated stadium budget." A retractable roof "remains the signature feature, but it has taken on an oval shape," while a "sky bridge" from which fans can "stand and peer over one end zone has been added." The videoboards, as in earlier renderings, are "incorporated into the roof opening, the exterior of the angular building is a translucent material that can change colors, and a soaring wall of glass behind the east end zone is positioned to provide an unobstructed view of the downtown skyline." The Falcons said that they "intend to play most of their games with the roof open." The facility's price tag is "believed to have swelled well beyond" $1B with property acquisition, road work and other items the Falcons agreed to fund earlier this year. Team officials "hope to break ground on the stadium in April" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 10/25).

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  • MiLB Facility Notes: New Nashville Ballpark Would Pay Homage To City's Baseball History

    City of Nashville officials and architects said on Thursday at a community meeting that a new ballpark "in the historic Sulphur Dell area would offer sweeping views of the downtown skyline and nods to Nashville’s baseball past." Project officials stressed to a crowd of at least 200 people that they "think the 10,000-seat facility north of downtown should be called 'a ballpark.'" The potential new home of the Triple-A PCL Nashville Sounds "would sit 14 feet below street level, with light poles towering 100 feet above the field." In Nashville, Michael Cass notes financing details of the approximately $40M facility "remain fuzzy more than two months after the proposed ballpark became public" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/25).

    BAYOU BALLPARK: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Fowler & McWhirter write $15M of Deepwater Horizon oil spill recovery money directed to the building of a roughly $40M minor league baseball stadium in Biloxi, Miss., "has some residents in the region questioning whether the funds are being used as intended and are addressing the area's most critical needs." City officials who proposed the project said that the new home for an as-yet unnamed Double-A team "will enhance tourism." State officials said that most of the money it gets for spill recovery "will go toward environmental remediation -- but that its tourism industry needs help, too" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/25).

    GOURMET GRUB: In Akron, Stephanie Warsmith noted the Double-A Eastern League Akron Aeros will offer "more than the traditional ballpark food starting next spring" at Canal Park Stadium. Team Owner Ken Babby on Monday provided Akron's City Council with details and "received financing help from the city -- for a new, sit-down restaurant at the downtown baseball stadium." The all-American grill "will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch" and will be "open year-round." The City Council "approved legislation that restructured the city’s financing for the construction of the stadium and provided additional financing for the restaurant project that Babby will repay" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 10/23).

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  • Facility Notes

    In Miami, Manny Navarro notes six years after the Orange Bowl was "demolished and replaced" by Marlins Park, college football "is coming back to the same site in Little Havana" in '14 with the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. Marlins Park Exec VP/Operations & Events Claude Delorme said that there "are only a couple sections in the park where views for football are obstructed." Navarro notes that includes the "home run porch and parts of the first-base line." Delorme added that part of the infield dirt "will be removed and sod will be directly installed over what is left." Delorme said that there is "a strong possibility the stadium could host high school football games after the baseball season and before the bowl game" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/25).

    LAND GRAB: In Minneapolis, Moore & Meryhew report the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has agreed to pay $17.1M for "a key piece of land near" the proposed $975M Vikings stadium. MSFA officials said that proximity "to mass transit and parking is key to the stadium's success, and Thursday's agreement eliminates a final hurdle in the land-acquisition process before construction begins next month." The agreement on the plaza comes just days before contractor Mortenson Construction is "expected to deliver a guaranteed maximum price for building the stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/25).

    THIS IS SPARTA: In Michigan, Matthew Miller notes new "concrete walls are going up on the north end of Spartan Stadium, many still braced inside wood and metal forms, the skeleton of a 50,000-square-foot two-story addition." Workers will "begin installing the structural steel after" Michigan-Michigan State on Nov. 2. After that it "will be the limestone exterior, the roof, the metal panels." The $24.5M project "broke ground in July" and the goal is to "wrap it up by July of next year." The project is "a few days ahead of schedule" (LANSING STATE JOURNAL, 10/25).

    SPEED TRAP: Rockingham Speedway Owner Andy Hillenburg confirmed that the track, which "began hosting NASCAR races again two years ago after an eight-year absence, will not host a Truck Series race in 2014." Hillenburg said, "We’ve got a number of issues that have to be resolved before we can host races again. These issues have been mounting over the last two to three years" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 10/24).

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