Back in July, a change in ownership of the Atlanta Hawks franchise stirred up a hurricane of rumors weighing the potential for a new basketball arena. At the time, the team's new owner Antony Ressler said, "There's do-nothing. There's remodel. Or there's a new arena. Do-nothing is not an option," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Well, despite all the hype, it appears the team has settled on the middle option.
None of this is surprising. The arena is bound to have a few wrinkles after 16 years in service, and even Hawks center Al Horford has had to admit Philips, "wasn't the best facility." Harsh, big Al! The Hawks' nest is just a few years shy of an age when Atlanta's other franchise teams flown to a new stadium (or a few years overdue for a move to Canada). The Braves turned their backs on Turner Field after 20 years, and the Falcons with the Georgia Dome at 25.
Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday his administration is now working on a plan for a major renovation. The groups have yet to settle on a number, but Reed said it could be between $150 million and $250 million. They also haven't determined how much taxpayers will have to pony up for these updates.
The Hawks have retained a design team for the renovation and among the assorted propositions are connecting some of the disjointed corridors to improve fan-flow throughout the arena. It's also likely the "wall of suites" will be removed as they're no longer fashionable in the NBA (no arena has added one since Phillips).
The changes are major enough that they'll likely displace the team for at least part of the season. When the Hawks made the move from the Omni to Phillips Arena, they played at the Georgia Tech Coliseum and at the Georgia Dome. So might we one day be watching Jeff Teague toss alley-oops to Horford under the Falcons' giant origami from space?