Amway Center: Wikis

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Amway Center
Amway-center-aerial-rendering.jpg
Location Hughey Ave. and Church St., Orlando, Florida
Broke ground July 25, 2008
Opened October 2010 (projected)
Owner City of Orlando
Operator Orlando Venues
Construction cost USD $ 480 million
Architect Populous[1](formerly HOK Sport)
Smith Seckman Reed
Walter P. Moore
Capacity 18,500 (NBA)
19,000 (center stage concert)
16,000 (end stage concert)
20,000 (NCAA basketball)
17,200 (lacrosse/arena football)
Tenants
Orlando Magic (NBA) (2010-present)
Orlando Predators (AFL) (2011-future)
Orlando Titans (NLL) (2011-future)

The Amway Center is a sports venue that is under construction in Orlando, Florida. It is part of Downtown Master Plan 3: a plan that also involves improvements to the Citrus Bowl and a new performing arts center.[2] The arena, whose completion is expected in time for the 2010-11 NBA season, will be home to the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association, the Orlando Predators of Arena Football League and the Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League. The groundbreaking ceremony took place at noon, July 25, 2008.

Contents

The road to approval

Prior to Downtown Master Plan 3, the Orlando Magic's ownership, led by billionaire Amway founder Richard DeVos and son-in-law Bob Vander Weide, had been pressing the City of Orlando for a new arena for nearly ten years. Amway Arena was built in 1989, and at present is the seventh-oldest arena in the National Basketball Association (behind Oracle Arena in Oakland, Madison Square Garden in New York City, Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Bradley Center in Milwaukee, The Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, and Arco Arena in Sacramento). During various times in the late 1990s, the team even threatened to move elsewhere, though threats of imminent departure died down after the September 11 attacks and remained merely speculation. Still, some analysts suggested that the team might leave for newer arenas in Kansas City, Oklahoma City or even Las Vegas. (Ultimately, Oklahoma City got a team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, when the Seattle SuperSonics moved after the 2007-08 season.)

On September 29, 2006, after years of on-and-off negotiations, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty, and the Orlando Magic announced an agreement on a new arena in downtown Orlando. The new 20,000-seat arena will be located at the northwest corner of Church Street and Hughey Avenue, with construction starting in early 2008. The site is referred to as the "Carolina Florida" site, and is further bounded by Division Avenue to the west and South Street to the south[3]. The site will be developed with future planned changes to adjacent Interstate 4 in mind, with planning documents taking into account the plans for the fully-completed interchange with SR 408.[4] The arena itself is estimated to cost around $380 million, with an additional $100 million for land and infrastructure, for a total cost of $480 million.

The Orlando Magic will contribute at least $50 million in cash up-front, and rent of $1 million per year for 25–30 years. The Magic will pick up any cost overruns. The City of Orlando will pay for the land and infrastructure. The remaining money will come from bonds which will be paid off by part of the Orange County, Florida, Tourist Development Tax, collected as a surcharge on hotel stays, which was raised to 6% in 2006. The Magic will guarantee $100 million of these bonds.

The new arena is part of a $1.05-billion plan to redo the Orlando Centroplex with a new arena, a new $375-million performing arts center, and a $175-million expansion of the Citrus Bowl. When it was announced in the media on September 29, it was referred to as the "Triple Crown for Downtown". The Magic are anticipating that the arena will be completed prior to the 2010-2011 regular season opener.[5] Declining economic conditions led the improvements to the Citrus Bowl to be delayed until at least 2020, but construction of the Events Center has highest priority and is proceeding as scheduled.

The details of the agreement were finalized on December 22, 2006. In the agreement, the City of Orlando will take ownership of the new arena, while the Magic will control the planning and construction of the facility so long as contracting procedures are done in the same public manner as governments advertise contracts. In addition, the City will be paid a part of naming rights and corporate suite sales, a share estimated to be worth $1.75 million the first year of the arena's opening. The Magic will receive all proceeds from ticket sales for Magic games, while the City will receive all proceeds from ticket sales to all other events.[6]

The Orlando City Council approved several operating agreements connected with the arena plans on May 22, 2007.[7] The City Council approved the plan officially, 6-1, on July 23.[8] The Venue plan receive final approval by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, 5-2, in late evening of July 26 after a long day of public hearings.[9] Amendments were made by the County Commission which were approved on August 6 by the City Council, 6-1, sealing the deal once and for all.

City officials said once the new arena is complete, the Amway Arena probably will be sold and torn down. As part of Amway's naming rights to the venue formerly known as the TD Waterhouse Centre, the company had right of first refusal for naming rights to the new venue,[10] and exercised those rights, announcing a 10-year, $40-million naming deal to name the venue the Amway Center on August 3, 2009.[11]

Amway Center is also intended to be home to the Orlando Predators of the new Arena Football League. Its first league, the original Arena Football League, folded in 2009 from underneath the Predators.[12] On September 28, 2009, the Predators announced they had joined Arena Football 1, which was reorganized from the surviving AF2 minor league and would ultimately change its name to the Arena Football League after purchasing that league's assets. If the new AFL succeeds in starting their league in 2010, a Predators game will likely be the final sporting event played at Amway Arena.

Amway Center will also play host to the Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League after they play their first season, 2010, at Amway Arena.

The City of Orlando has made a push to hold the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in the new Amway Center.

Design

Populous (formerly HOK Sport, its name when the venue was announced) was named the primary contractor on August 3, with Smith Seckman Reed and Walter P Moore Engineers and Consultants as planning partners.[13] As part of the contract, Populous agreed to contract at least 18% of the construction work to firms owned by minorities and 6% of the work to firms owned by women.[14] On August 26, 2009, the Magic announced that 35% of the contracts to that point, with 75% of all contracts awarded, have gone to companies owned by minorities or women.[15]

New Magic owner Bob Vander Weide, who took over for his father-in-law Richard DeVos in November 2007, hinted that the new arena would have mid-level luxury seats, meaning they would be below the upper deck seating.[16] Amway Arena's luxury boxes are above all seats and mounted to the roof of the stadium.

On December 1, 2007, the City and the Magic came to an agreement on nearly $8.5 million in compensation to three owners of the land where the arena is planned to be built. An eminent domain hearing confirmed the agreement and finalized the sale.[17]

The design for Amway Center was unveiled at Amway Arena, during the Magic home game against the Atlanta Hawks, on December 10, 2007, with an official press release the next day.[18]

Amway Center will have an NBA basketball capacity of 18,500. This is an increase of over 1,200 seats over Amway Arena. 1,428 of those seats will be club seats, a feature Amway Arena does not have. It will also feature four concourses, as opposed to the single concourse at Amway Arena, 56 suites, as opposed to 26 for Amway Arena, and will also feature 66 loge boxes, with total seating for 316. The design documents confirmed Vander Weide's suggestion that the suites would be between the seating levels.

The floor of Amway Center is designed with arena football in mind. It will feature more retractable sections that will permit squared end zone corners, a feature not possible for Orlando Predators games at Amway Arena. Prior to the folding of the original Arena Football League, Populous released design images showing the venue's arena football configuration.

In addition to the 56 game-view suites, there will be four "Chairman Suites" within a Courtside Club area, which will come with access to floor-level seats.

Controversy

A few weeks after the passage of the financing plan for the arena, performing arts center and Citrus Bowl improvements, International Drive area hotelier Harris Rosen launched a petition drive for an initiative that would change the Charter of Orange County to require a public vote to approve any venue that costs more than $25 million and would use TDT funding for its construction.[19] Rosen opposes use of TDT money for initiatives that do not directly benefit the tourism industry in Orange County. Rosen said he would drop the petition drive if Magic owner Rich DeVos donates $50 million to charitable causes and "adopts" the impoverished Parramore district of Orlando, in the same way that Rosen adopted the Tangelo Park district. DeVos supporters responded with a list of $22 million in recent charitable contributions within the community, in addition to $12.5 million he pledged to build five community centers throughout Orange County just prior to the Orange County passage of the funding initiative.[20]

Government officials contended at the time that, even if Rosen's petition advances and a resulting charter amendment passes, such an amendment would not affect the already-approved arena, performing arts center and Citrus Bowl improvements.[20] However, in late November 2007, Rosen backed down on his petition due to an insufficient number of signatures.

Construction of Amway Center

References

External links

Preceded by
Amway Arena
Home of the
Orlando Magic

2010–present
Succeeded by
-
Preceded by
Amway Arena
Home of the
Orlando Predators

2010–present
Succeeded by
-

Coordinates: 28°32′21″N 81°23′1″W / 28.53917°N 81.38361°W / 28.53917; -81.38361

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