2017 promises to be a big year for Atlanta sports venues, as the Falcons, the Braves and Atlanta United FC all move into new digs. And with the sale of the Hawks this year, speculation has swirled about a possible relocation of the team. After all, Philips Arena is practically ancient at 16 years old and will soon need to be demolished — as evidenced by the abandoning of Turner Field at age 20 and the Georgia Dome at 25. At a news conference yesterday, Mayor Kasim Reed addressed the issue, assuaging fears of a departure from the city, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.. Instead, Hizzoner said, the Hawks are exploring three options right here in the ATL.
Aside from a renovation of Philips Arena, which would undoubtedly take some serious cash and not offer the pizzazz of a new venue, Mayor Reed mentioned that the Hawks have been eyeing the city's Civic Center as a possible relocation destination. The City has been pondering a sale of the underutilized site on the border of Midtown and downtown for the better part of a year, with limited interest. The relocation of the Hawks could prove a game-changer for the western edge of Old Fourth Ward, isolated from downtown by The Connector. And as for the third possibility ... well, Reed refused to disclose the other location the Hawks are scouting for a new arena.
A few bad guesses: One of those deep holes at Atlantic Station? Turner Field? A gaping surface parking lot in Midtown (pick one)? Pullman Yard?
The announcement created more questions than answers and will leave us pondering until a decision is made. Will the Hawks fly the coop? What will happen to Family Feud — which films at the Civic Center — if the Hawks move across town? Could the new arena be called Boisfeuillet Jones? And what's with this mystery location? One thing's for sure — one way or another, the Hawks will be getting spruced-up digs in the next few years.
· Hawks eyeing Civic Center site for new arena [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· City's Super, Duper Serious about Civic Center Sale Now [Curbed Atlanta]