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Many events, businesses and regular activities have been canceled, closed or changed due to COVID-19, but improvements to Downtown Phoenix are continuing on strong.
The DTPHX skyline is scattered with cranes, light rail construction is ahead of schedule, and the home of the Phoenix Suns, Mercury and Arizona Rattlers is in the process of getting a major makeover.
Talking Stick Resort Arena started its $230 million transformation — labeled “Project 201: PHX Reimagined,” — in March, and we got a look at the construction progress from Phoenix Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver.
For more than a quarter-century, downtown’s arena has been vital to the growth and development of Arizona’s urban core.
The once state-of-the-art venue helped drive the growth of Downtown Phoenix, hosting more than 40 million guests over 28 years. In 2019, Phoenix City Council approved a $150 million contribution from the city’s Sports Facilities Fund to upgrade the aging arena, with the Suns contributing more than $80 million.
“A lot of it has to do with creating more venues and opportunities no matter where you sit to be able to find different food options, different bar options and different view options,” said Sarver. “You’re going to see a bowl that’s quite a bit different than the bowl you saw last season.”
Updates to the building’s infrastructure (mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural) are a significant aspect of the redesign. But much of the work is designed to improve the overall fan experience – from the local food offerings, to expanded concourses that will increase flow, and communal areas for shared experiences, significant improvements in lighting, audio and video resolution, and state-of-the-art technology.
The renovations are taking the arena from the oldest and smallest venue in the NBA to the newest, according to Sarver.
Project 201 is currently scheduled to be completed in two phases: the first phase of the transformation will be completed prior to the start of the 2020-21 NBA season and the second phase will be completed prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.
More than 60 percent of the project, including updates to the bowl, pavilion and event level, were planned to be completed in phase one this year, but due to COVID-19 cancellations at the arena, the project was able to start early and go a month longer than planned — making the project about 80 percent complete by the end of this year.
The suites and exterior of the arena are set to be completed next summer. Get a glimpse at what it will feel like to walk into Talking Stick Resort Arena at the end of 2020 in the video below.
Those interested in Suns PayPal SixthMan Season Ticket Memberships can visit Project201.com and book a Transformation Center appointment to experience the all-new Talking Stick Resort Arena.