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OVG details new vision for Palm Springs arena

Oak View Group (OVG) has announced plans for a new 10,000-seat arena in Coachella Valley after revising a project for the future home of the Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League affiliate team.

Last year, OVG and Seattle Kraken, which will enter the NHL in 2021, were awarded an AHL expansion franchise and the team had originally been due to play at a new arena on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation in Palm Springs, California.

Groundbreaking for the new arena was postponed back in February due to “extenuating circumstances” and a new direction has now been revealed for the arena, which will be situated near the Classic Club golf course and not downtown Palm Springs.

OVG will work on the new arena with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, with the project to include an adjacent training facility and community gathering spaces. The project will also work to a change in completion timeline.

NHL Seattle said the new location makes the arena more accessible to fans across the nine cities of Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Coachella.

OVG had originally partnered with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on the arena project but the group is no longer involved. OVG will instead work with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, which supports educational projects and other charity initiatives.

Douglass A. Vance, vice-president of real estate for the foundation, said: “The Berger Foundation has always seen the potential of this property. We prepared the land many years ago for a project exactly like this arena and ancillary businesses and have since been actively seeking developers to create a world-class campus for the Coachella Valley and its visitors.”

The arena is now scheduled to break ground in 2021 and the project is slated for completion during the last quarter of 2022. The complex will be located on 43-plus acres of land at Interstate 10 and Cook Street in Riverside County near the city of Palm Springs.

OVG chief executive Tim Leiweke said: “After more than a year of good faith negotiations we were unable to finalise an agreement with the Agua Caliente tribal leaders for OVG to lease, develop and operate the privately funded arena. We appreciate the ongoing support and encouragement from the community and are very pleased to be partnering with the Berger Foundation who share our vision for creating a world-class venue for the Coachella Valley and what will be one of the most premier music and professional sports arenas in the world.”

Live Nation will work as a strategic partner and supply the arena with its stable of top touring artists and premium live events.

The Kraken’s AHL franchise is targeting the 2022-23 season as its inaugural campaign. The Kraken is exploring other competitions for its reserve players during the 2021-22 season and will consider sharing an AHL roster with another NHL team.

The Kraken’s own arena is due to open in the summer of 2021 ahead of its debut NHL season. The venue, which will be known as the Climate Pledge Arena as part of a sponsorship deal with Amazon, is being built on the site of the old KeyArena and will have a capacity of 17,400.

Image: Seattle Kraken