In what may be a grandiose example of keeping up with the Joneses, the City of Atlanta and the Hawks announced a nearly $200-million renovation of Philips Arena this week that officials are calling another lynchpin for revitalization of The Gulch area.
For those keeping score, that means all three professional sports teams in Atlanta will move into new or like-new venues in the span of just 18 months. The Hawks plan to debut their new digs (with substantial backing from the city) by 2018, a year after the Falcons and Braves.
The project, which the team will put $50 million toward, will bring major upgrades to the entirety of the 17-year-old basketball venue, officials say.
The city's investment of $142 million is less than the government contribution next door ($200 million) at the now $1.5-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is on track to open next year.
At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Kasim Reed stressed that no new taxes will be whipped up to pay for the Philips Arena overhaul, and none of the cash will be culled from the city's general fund. Instead, about $110 million will come from the extension of a car-rental tax. As the AJC reported, the rest will come from the sale of Turner Field and other anticipated land sales, according to Reed.
Reed called the deal a stake in the ground that should help spur — by his estimation — some $1.5 billion in development in the immediate area, per the newspaper.
Renderings show a much more open seating bowl, with new tiered suites, better sight-lines, and audio-visual upgrades throughout. A promo video calls the new venue "unprecedented."
With the overhaul happening, the team has agreed to extend their lease of the facility, meaning the Hawks won’t fly the coop for at least three decades.
Renovations are expected to be complete for the beginning of the 2018 season, marking the 50th anniversary of the Hawks franchise in Atlanta.