Hawks expected to start season on road as arena renovations conclude

An artist’s rendering of the completed Philips Arena.

An artist’s rendering of the completed Philips Arena.

The Hawks are expected to start the 2018-19 NBA season on the road with the finishing touches being put on the extensive renovations to Philips Arena.

The final of the $192.5 million three-phase major construction project at the arena, completed over two years, is said to be on time and will be ready for the NBA season.

The schedule for the 2018-19 NBA season could be announced within the next two weeks with the regular season starting in mid-October.

Philips Arena recently announced the So So Def 25th Anniversary concert will be held on Oct. 21. It will be the first ticketed event at the state-of-the-art arena.

As they did last season, the Hawks will play their exhibition home games at McCamish Pavilion on the campus of Georgia Tech this year with games on Oct. 1 and 10. The team held preseason games outside Philips Arena as a precaution last season.

The Hawks also began last season on the road as they started with a five-game trip to Dallas, Charlotte, Brooklyn, Miami and Chicago following Phase 1 of the project. The home opener was Oct. 27.

The major work on the arena began in April 2017 and it was returned to the Hawks for the 2017-18 season. Phase 2 of the project was done behind the scenes during last season. Following the campaign, the most extensive arena work began this year.

When the makeover is completed, the arena’s seating capacity will be about 17,500. The Hawks listed last season’s capacity as 15,711, down from 18,047 before renovations. Many of the lost seats will be regained when the former wall of suites is repurposed with two levels of suites (“Veranda suites” on one row, “loft suites” on the other), Topgolf and new upper-deck seating.