Updated plans for proposed downtown arena revealed
By Kevin Leininger | News-Sentinel
Although a decision about whether to build a downtown arena still hasn't officially been made, the design of the proposed $85 million facility is coming into focus.
Interior and exterior plans obtained exclusively by The News-Sentinel indicate the so-called "event center" will contain three levels, with the ground floor containing restaurants and bars and the third level luxury suites. The seating, which has been projected to accommodate up to 6,000 spectators, would be in a "horseshoe" shape and open on the western end, adjacent to loading docks, storage and service areas. The main entrance and ticket office would be on the east side of the building off Webster Street, and the arena would be connected to the adjacent Grand Wayne Convention Center by an elevated walkway.
Plans also include underground parking.
The designs, prepared by a group headed by Sinks Combs Dethlefs Architects of Denver under a $283,000 contract approved by the Capital Improvement Board in July, include images offering variations in roof lines, exterior finishes and other details to be finalized later.
Board member Steve Brody said in July the initial design phase was expected to be complete this month, after which there "will be multiple opportunities for public input." More-detailed cost estimates are also expected for a project Mayor Tom Henry has said could cost more than $100 million once the cost of land is included.
The Capital Improvement Board this week agreed to pay up to $19,000 to two firms that will analyze potential funding sources for the project and to lay the legal groundwork needed to issue bonds to pay for construction. The board has some control over three potential revenue sources: the food and beverage tax, the hotel tax and the sports development sales tax. An earlier study commissioned by Greater Fort Wayne Inc. indicated the community could afford up to $350 million in bonds to pay for the arena and other projects. Supporters generated by the facility could help pay for its construction.
The data gathered by the firms will help decide whether the "event center" is ultimately built.