Leadoff: Hawks remove and recycle 12,500 Philips Arena seats

Philips Arena will have new seats when the building, now in the last and largest phase of its ongoing makeover, reopens in October.

Some 12,500 seats have been removed from the arena and recycled since the end of the Hawks’ season, the team noted in a news release Wednesday.

The Hawks said the removed seats were taken to a nearby facility, where 64 tons of recyclable material was separated from landfill material. The recycling and waste reduction effort was supervised by Atlanta-based company Rubicon Global.

Brett Stefansson, Hawks executive vice president and Philips Arena general manager, said the organization “felt it was our responsibility to remove seats and other materials in a way that values sustainability.”

The arena is closed until the start of the Hawks’ 2018-19 season for construction work. The NBA hasn’t announced next season’s  schedule, so the exact reopening date isn’t known.

Philips Arena's $192.5 million transformation began last summer with the demolition of a six-level wall of suites on the west side of the arena and the addition of a court-side club behind one basket. Phase 2 proceeded behind the scenes during the Hawks' 2017-18 season. Phase 3, the culmination of the project with up to 800 workers on site daily, began April 22, 12 days after the Hawks' final game of the season.

When the makeover is completed this fall, the arena’s seating capacity will be about 17,500, down from 18,047 before renovations began.

The transformation will bring a wide range of non-traditional premium seating areas (think couches and cabanas), a reduced number of suites, several new clubs, a new center-hung scoreboard/video board three times the size of the previous board, 360-degree open concourses, even a barber shop and Topgolf simulators.

A high-tech, multi-media preview center, which opened in March at CNN Center, allows  prospective seat and suite buyers to see the arena as it will exist in October.

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