SBJ/August 22 - 28, 2005/Facilities

Turner afield: Designer chooses L.A. master planning firm

Sports facility designer Ron Turner has joined RTKL in Los Angeles, the master planning and urban design specialist that HOK Sport hired to help fit Camden Yards into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor neighborhood.

Turner was hired earlier this month as RTKL’s vice president of stadium and arena design.

He brought five designers from Turner-Meis & Associates, including Jonathan Emmett and Eric Randolph, two architects with a combined 30 years of experience.

Turner and his team made the move after the breakup of Los Angeles-based Turner-Meis earlier this year. Turner and the others will stay in Los Angeles.

RTKL helped Camden Yards fit into Baltimore and will try the same for Staples Center in L.A.
Turner said he declined other opportunities that, “quite frankly, were more lucrative.” He also decided against forming his own practice in favor of collaborating with RTKL’s urban designers to get work in the current pro sports environment, where virtually every team seeking a new facility is positioning its venue as part of an overall retail and entertainment development.

“I was purposeful about this whole thing,” said Turner. “I didn’t want to jump into the ordinary. What we don’t need is another [independent] sports practice. This is where the industry’s headed. It’s all about what’s outside the facility, not inside the building.”

RTKL was familiar with Turner from his work in designing Staples Center when Turner was with NBBJ.

Anschutz Entertainment Group owns the arena and hired RTKL to design LA Live, an entertainment district planned around Staples Center. It is expected to break ground next month on 4 million square feet of development, said Paul Jacob, RTKL’s chairman.

“If Ron had come in and said, ‘I want to work with a firm that values me and what I’ve proved over the years,’ I don’t know that we would have hired him,” Jacob said. “But what he said was ‘I admire what RTKL has done and want to be a part of that and complement what you do,’ to leverage and expand upon it, not usurp it. That’s what we wanted to hear.”

SEA-FOOD BUFFET: The Seattle Seahawks set a meeting for concessionaires Tuesday to discuss the process for bidding the food contracts at Qwest Field, according to industry sources.

Aramark signed a five-year deal when the stadium opened in 2002. The team invoked a clause that it could “terminate for cause” after three years, a source familiar with the situation said.

Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke and Aramark reps were unavailable for comment.

INTERNATIONAL UPDATE: International Facilities Group of suburban Chicago hired former SMG executive Joe Briglia as vice president of business development last month.

IFG has started operating the House of Hope on the South Side of Chicago on behalf of the 22,000-member Salem Baptist Church. Cindy Kamradt, most recently at Glendale Arena, is interim director.

The 10,000-capacity facility resembles an arena more than a church, said Michael Reinsdorf, IFG’s managing director. The Chicago Bulls used the building for youth camps, and IFG plans to book smaller concerts and family shows there.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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