Oak View Group (OVG) has teamed up with Thirty-Five Ventures to be granted an Exclusive Negotiating Privilege (ENP) and Right of Entry agreement for a proposed $150m (£107.9m/€125.6m) redevelopment of Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena.

The agreement has been reached with Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and will allow OVG to negotiate a lease and management agreement for the City-owned arena. OVG was one of three respondents to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by BDC on behalf of the City of Baltimore.

Royal Farms Arena opened in 1962 and BDC hailed the agreement as representing a “major milestone” in realising the City’s long-sought goal of having a state-of-the-art, modern arena in downtown. The project is hoped to serve as a key anchor on downtown’s west side and help drive further investment and development in the area.

Thirty Five Ventures is a venture capital firm founded by Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball star Kevin Durant and his business partner, Rich Kleiman. It is serving as OVG’s arena partner in the Baltimore project, with the two parties to fully fund the cost of the renovation.

Durant and Kleiman said in a statement: “We’re thrilled that the Baltimore Development Corporation has selected our partners at Oak View Group for this groundbreaking renovation. OVG has proven its reputation for innovation in the venue space, and we’re looking forward to working with them to bring Baltimore Arena and a myriad sports and entertainment opportunities, to life in Baltimore.”

The announcement is set to provide another addition to OVG’s burgeoning US arena portfolio. OVG is behind Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle; UBS Arena in Belmont, New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; and Coachella Valley Arena in Palm Desert, California.

“We’re pleased to enter into exclusive negotiations with BDC to revitalise the Baltimore Arena,” said Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke. “Baltimore has such a rich music and sports history, and we look forward to working with the Mayor (Brandon Scott), BDC and the community to elevate live entertainment in the city and make the Baltimore Arena a premier destination for the biggest artists and events in the world.”

The City had been seeking a partner to reimagine, redevelop, and reposition the Arena in its current location; maximise direct and indirect benefits of the Arena to the City; activate street-level facades; support the convention centre operations and the broader tourism industry; and achieve the highest quality of architectural exterior/interior design.

Scott said: “I’m pleased to have given BDC the go ahead to enter into final and exclusive negotiations with OVG, which is an important key step toward realising the long-awaited transformation of the iconic and historic Baltimore Arena into a world-class entertainment venue.

“The project will catalyse the reopening of Baltimore’s tourism and hospitality market and reposition Baltimore as a destination for top-tier national events and live entertainment. I look forward to being briefed on BDC’s final negotiations and deal terms.”

Image: Royal Farms Arena