Gavin P Smith Orlando Journalist

Full Steam Ahead

New Venue design teams named for recently approved Magic arena

Orange County, FL – Now that the venues have been approved, officials are wasting no time in filling top positions to start the planning and design phases of the eventual construction of the new Orlando Magic Arena.  HOK Sport, along with Walter P. Moore and Smith Seckman Reid, is getting the nod to design the new center according to the Magic.

The new arena, slated for completion by September of 2010, will not only be the home of the Magic but is also slated to compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows.  Operated by the City and owned by the community, the new Events Center was recently approved in a 5-2 vote of County Commissioners and a 6-1 prior approval vote with Orlando city officials.

“Today’s professional arenas need to accommodate the entire game day and concert experience,” said HOK Sport Senior Principal Rick Martin. “Our proficiency in arena design, coupled with our longstanding commitment to sustainable design, will lend itself well to creating a civic icon in Orlando.”

Groundbreaking on the project is slated for the summer of next year.  The new facility will be located just south of Church Street on the west side of I-4 in downtown Orlando.  As well, it will be designed and constructed according to green building development standards, in step with the latest moves by local officials to make Orange County and Orlando city facilities eco-friendly, or “green”.

“HOK will bring incredible vision and creativity to Orlando’s new Events Center,” said Orlando Magic Chief Operating Officer Alex Martins. “They have a team of talent with worldwide experience that will design a facility unique to Central Florida and with the flexibility to host major national events.”

The current home of the Magic, Amway Arena, will be replaced by a larger facility with 2,500 more seats and almost twice the total square footage.  The new 20,000-seat, 750,000 square foot building will not only house the Magic, but offer more space to incorporate modern day amenities, meeting rooms, and other professional spaces.

HOK is a leading design firmed with a number of offices throughout the United States and worldwide.  They exclusively design sporting venues, responsible for 32 professional arenas, 48 civic arenas and 56 collegiate arenas.  Notable achievements include the new Pepsi Center in Denver, the Toyota Center in Houston, the Phillips Arena in Atlanta and the new Wembley Stadium in London.  Clients include 24 Major League Baseball franchises, 30 NFL franchises, 80 professional and civic arenas, 40 soccer and rugby teams and 120 colleges and universities.  Most impressive is the number of design awards received by HOK, over 200 in total, including three national design awards from the American Institute of Architects.

“We’re delighted the project has been approved and we’re very pleased to have emerged from the interview process as the top-ranked design firm,” said Martin. “In the coming weeks we look forward to finalizing the contract and proceeding with design of a new downtown Events Center.”

Posted in Orlando Tribune.