As the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons prepare to move into new stadiums for their respective 2017 seasons, the City of Atlanta announced Tuesday that the Atlanta Hawks will stay at Philips Arena through 2046, but a major facelift is coming.
The city approved a $192.5 million renovation of the arena in a joint press conference with the Hawks Tuesday afternoon. According to AJC.com, $142.5 million of that price tag will be funded by the city, and the Hawks will provide the other $50 million. The city’s chunk of money will come mostly from an already-existing rental car tax ($110 million), while $12.5 million will come from the sale of Turner Field to Georgia State University and the remaining $20 million will be paid by expected future land sales, AJC.com also reported.
If the Hawks were to leave Philips Arena before 2046, they’ll owe the city $200 million, the report added.
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The Hawks released renderings of the facelift during the press conference, and it’s clear that the new ownership group was not in love with the “wall of suites” that currently line one side of the arena. Following the renovations, many of those suites will be removed, according to the renderings, but it appears some will be moved to the other sideline.
It’s also believed that the floor level, built in an oval shape to accommodate hockey, will become more basketball friendly. So for the hockey fans, this is pretty much the final sign that the sport isn’t returning to Atlanta, at least at the pro level.
The arena cost just $213.5 million to build, so you can be sure this’ll be one heck of a facelift.
“This is the first stake in the ground in transforming the critical corridor from the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium to Centennial Olympic Park and across to Five Points and Underground Atlanta,” Mayor Kasim Reed in a press release. “I want to thank Tony Ressler and the Atlanta Hawks’ ownership for committing to this deal that will keep the NBA in our city and help re-imagine downtown for the millions of residents, visitors and tourists who come to Atlanta each year.”
The city’s contribution to this project is a far higher percentage than they gave to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. According to Curbed Atlanta, the city pitched in $200 million for the $1.5 billion new home of the Falcons and Atlanta United FC, or 13 percent of the final price. They’ll be paying for 74 percent of the Philips Arena renovations, but then again, the city owns this building.
The renovations will begin next summer and are expected to be complete in time for the 2018-19 NBA season, when the franchise will celebrate 50 years in Atlanta, the Hawks said. The team will play at the arena next season, even as the facelift is ongoing.Follow @Sean_Breslin