OVG begins work on $150m Baltimore Arena revamp

Oak View Group, the global venue development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, has commenced work on a $150m (£114m/€136m) transformation project at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena.

OVG is working with the Baltimore Development Corporation and Thirty Five Ventures, a company co-founded by NBA star Kevin Durant and businessman Rich Kleiman.

Once renovated, it is hoped the arena will serve as a key anchor on the west side of downtown Baltimore and help drive further investment in the area. The renovations will be fully funded by OVG and Thirty Five Ventures.

The city-owned Royal Farms Arena opened in 1962 and has been used to stage basketball and ice hockey games. Renovations to the arena will include new seats and suites, refurbished concourses, upgraded concession areas and a revamp of the building’s appearance.

Other upgrades will include focuses on sustainability through locally-sourced materials, LED lighting, low flow and waterless fixtures, “world-class” acoustics, and next-generation touchless and self-serve technologies.

The renovation project will be overseen by Clark Construction Group. The company has provided construction services for a number of local venues, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, Capital One Arena, Nationals Park and FedExField.

It is hoped the project will enable Baltimore to contend for more major events and drive economic growth for the city. It is anticipated that over 500 construction jobs will be created over the next 12 months, and the team has set a goal of awarding 27% and 10% of construction subcontracts to Minority Business Enterprises and Women’s Business Enterprises, respectively.

Steve Collins, president of global venue development and special projects at OVG, said: “We remain committed to working with strong minority and women-owned businesses to transform Baltimore’s iconic arena into one of the most premier world-class venues in the country. Not only will the arena attract larger national events and live entertainment, but it will radically change the energy and fabric of downtown Baltimore and boost the local economy in a major way.”

The new-look arena, which is scheduled to open in 2023, will host concerts, family shows and other events, as well as UFC, tennis, boxing, NBA exhibition games, NCAA events and more.

OVG teamed up with Thirty Five Ventures in June last year to be granted an Exclusive Negotiating Privilege and Right of Entry agreement for the redevelopment of the arena.

The commencement of work on the project comes after OVG last week unveiled plans for its biggest project to date – a $3bn retail and entertainment district in Las Vegas that will have a $1bn arena as its focal point.

The district, located south of the Las Vegas Strip, will include a 20,000-seat arena, casino, hotel, and additional entertainment amphitheatre. OVG intends to break ground on the privately financed project next year, with a view to completion in 2026.

OVG’s most recent major arena project, the $1.1bn UBS Arena, opened its doors in November.

Image: Royal Farms Arena