Phillips Arena Slated For A $192 Mil Renovation Deal will keep Hawks in Atlanta until 2046
8 November 2016
Phillips Arena, the home of the Atlanta Hawks has been added to the list of major refurbishments taking place in Atlanta in the near future.Some of the Hawks star players, including Dwight Howard and other staff members joined Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and some members of the Atlanta City Council Tuesday afternoon to announce the $192.5 million dollar deal to renovate the facility.
Reed believes the renovation will play a key role in the city’s robust $15 billion tourism industry which brought more than 50 million people to the city last year making Atlanta one of the fifth most visited cities in the United States.
The hospitality industry is responsible for more than 230,000 jobs for metropolitan Atlanta residents, the Mayor said.Other renovations in the downtown area taking place over the next year include the opening of the Mercedes Benz Stadium, the sale and redevelopment of Turner Field and Underground Atlanta, and the expansion through MARTA.
“Looking ahead I believe that the spectacular redesign of this high performance venue is yet another stake in the ground for the revitalization of the entire corridor [downtown Atlanta],” Reed said.Originally constructed as a multi-purpose facility in 1999, Philips Arena annually ranks among the most-programmed venues in the country, after Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center in New York City and Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to Pollstar’s rankings.
Philips Arena hosts approximately 170 events per year, including most of the biggest musical acts, family shows including the circus and ice shows, and Hawks home games. Philips employs approximately 1,500 staff per event, including 300 full-time employees and 1,200 part-time employees. More than 1.6 million fans and customers attend events at Philips Arena every year, with those numbers expected to increase significantly in the next two to five years.
Reed has assured Atlanta taxpayers that they will not have to assist with the remodeling of the 21,000 seat (concert setting) facility.“I’m proud to point out and emphasize that the city of Atlanta will invest in this project without using any money from its general fund. There will be no property taxes, or no new taxes will be paid or levied on Atlanta residents or businesses to fund this renovation,” Reed said.
The city has committed $142.5 million into the makeover with $110 million coming from the extension of the car rental tax that was passed at the Georgia General Assembly in 2015 collected at the CONRAC (Car Rental Facility) at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and other facilities throughout the city.
An additional $12.5 million will come from the sale of Turner field, which is scheduled to close December 31. Real estate developers planning to purchase property around the city will account for $20 million. The agreement includes a break-up clause that would require the Atlanta Hawks to pay up to $200 million should the team leave the city prior to 2046.The Atlanta Hawks will invest $50 million into the renovation.Tony Ressler, the Hawks majority owner said the renovated arena will be a state of the art facility.
“I do believe this agreement will create a world-class Philips Arena,” Ressler said. “We as a franchise, Grant Hill and our other owners, are utterly delighted to be in partnership with this city, with this mayor, with our downtown for the next 30 years, and expect great things in the future.”
The team and the arena operator will execute an extension of the lease and operating agreement for the facility. Under this extension, the arena operator will make lease payments of $5.9 million to the City throughout the term of the agreement.Executive Director of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority and Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms said the deal is going to create a lasting legacy within the city.
“I am so very pleased on behalf of the city of Atlanta and the Fulton County Recreation Authority to support this project,” Bottoms said. “What I am most encouraged by in having the Hawks as a partner is that the people of Atlanta have not been lost in the project, they have taken Phillips Arena into our communities and by that I mean, any number of us on city council can tell you what they have done inside of our communities to infuse not just beautiful plain basketball courts but also to bring reality into our communities.”
Last year, the Atlanta Hawks Foundation partnered with Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation and CBA Sports to start the five-year process to refurbish 25 basketball courts around Georgia. Some of the completed basketball courts include William Walker Recreation Center formerly known as Ben Hill Recreation Center, Gresham Park and Welcome All Park.The renovations for the arena will commence during the summer of 2017 and 2018 and will be completed by the 2018-19 season, which will also be the 50th anniversary of the Hawks moving to Atlanta