Ford Center renovation to create top arena at better price

Whether it's a game night, concert or a family show, the experience inside the Ford Center is turning into one that is second to none.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Published: August 22, 2010

Smaller yet significant amenities like a wider variety of food at concession stands have also been incorporated. A new restaurant on the 100 level is in the plans, as well as bars and other social areas such as a kid's fun zone.

Since the Ford Center was designed in the mid-1990s and opened in 2002 to meet standard NBA and NHL specifications, the building lacked some of the most basic features. The bland finishes throughout the building and narrow seating, Desjardins said, were the two most popular complaints.

The Ford Center tax, though, was supposed to squash most complaints. Originally projected to raise $121 million, about $20 million was designated for the construction of a separate practice facility. The funds came in lower than projected, but with an original price tag of $90 million, the Ford Center will have cost roughly $200 million after renovations.

It will make the downtown arena one of the NBA's best buildings and best bargains.

"When it's all said and done, we're going to have a great building that is paid for and was significantly less expensive than buildings being built today but has a lot of the same amenities," Desjardins said.

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