Kasim Reed: City, Hawks talking Philips Arena remodel

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday his administration is working on a plan with the Atlanta Hawks for a significant overhaul of Philips Arena to keep the team downtown.

The city and the NBA team are discussing plans that would involve an undetermined amount of public investment.

“We will retrofit Philips. That is the agreement. The discussion is about the number,” Reed said, referring to the total cost of a substantial Philips renovation, not just a public amount.

The renovation being discussed could total $150 million to $250 million, Reed said in a brief interview after he gave remarks at a conference in Vinings held by real estate publication Bisnow.

The Hawks have retained a firm to design the overhaul, he said.

That makeover could include undoing the “wall of suites” on one side of the arena, an element to the stadium that is not in fashion in the NBA. It also would involve connecting disjointed corridors for better flow of fans and opening corridors to the game action.

“I think it will be highly unlikely that you will have the (suite) stack anymore,” Reed said. Our building is the only building built since that time that did that.’

Many of the details are still being worked out and Reed said formal plans could come forward in the first quarter of next year.

The Hawks recently changed owners. The new ownership group, led by hedge fund powerhouse Antony Ressler, have previously said they could not rule out moving the team to another location in metro Atlanta.

Unrelated work on the stadium currently underway by the Hawks has suggested the team planned to stay in Philips Arena.

Currently, the arena is undergoing a significant cosmetic upgrades to the Hawks locker room area, improvements new ownership feel are necessary to the facility.

Ressler immediately upon purchasing the team said that the 16-year old arena needed to be remodeled or replaced. “There’s do-nothing. There’s remodel. Or there’s a new arena. Do-nothing is not an option,” Ressler said in June.

Center Al Horford recently acknowledged that Philips Arena “wasn’t the best facility.”

“I’m very happy, very satisfied,” Horford said of the current work being done at the arena. “I think it’s great that the ownership are taking this initiative to make everything better. As players, we really appreciate it. It makes it more enjoyable to come in and work and have more resources here. From a player’s standpoint, this is what we’ve been waiting for.”

More on this story as it develops.

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