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Renovations to begin on Baltimore Arena, which is expected to reopen in February

The 60-year-old Baltimore Arena is about to get a face-lift.

Oak View Group said it will hold a private groundbreaking ceremony Thursday at the city-owned arena — known as Royal Farms Arena until February — in downtown Baltimore. The California-based development firm previously said it plans to spend upward of $150 million to rehabilitate the aging arena, which has a capacity of about 15,000 people.

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Those plans included glass materials, new lighting, signage and exterior sails, along with contemporary arena seating, corporate suites, food and beverage amenities, and a “re-imagined concourse.”

Oak View said in a release Monday that renovations are expected to be finished by next February.

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Oak View is partnering with Thirty Five Ventures — an investment firm with ties to NBA basketball player Kevin Durant — to finance the renovations. In return, they will lease the building for the next 30 years through an entity called Baltimore Arena Co.

The Baltimore Development Corp. issued a call for proposals to redevelop the arena in 2020, after city and state economic development leaders rejected a proposal to build a new arena at the site of the city’s convention center, concluding that the undertaking would be too unrealistic and taxing.

The Baltimore Sun has requested the arena redevelopment bids from the Baltimore Development Corp.

Last week, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association announced that its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will stay in Baltimore for at least another two years, through 2025.

Baltimore and the CIAA had agreed to a three-year contract in January 2019 for the tournaments in 2021, 2022 and 2023, but the first year tournaments were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Next season would have been Baltimore’s final year before the conference considered another destination.

An economic impact report produced by the CIAA and Visit Baltimore last month showed the tournaments welcomed 36,390 unique attendees over 22 games that accounted for a direct spending impact of $13.9 million and a total economic impact of $19.6 million.


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