Los Angeles-headquartered sports and live entertainment company Oak View Group (OVG) has revealed plans for a 23,500-seat multi-purpose arena in the English city of Manchester that, when complete, will be the largest indoor arena in the United Kingdom. The current title-holder is also in Manchester, the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, which recently unveiled early-stage plans to increase its capacity to 24,000. Coming in at a close third is London’s O2 Arena, which can seat 20,000. OVG recently submitted plans to the Manchester City Council for the mega-venue, which would be located in a highly accessible, public transit-friendly “regeneration priority area” in the Eastlands of Manchester. The proposed canal-side site is adjacent to the Arup-designed Etihad Stadium, home to one of the city’s two prestigious Premier League football clubs, Manchester City F.C. The company is confident that two very large arenas can peacefully and successfully coexist in the same city, one that has a longstanding reputation as the live music capital of Britain. (The owner of the Manchester Arena, however, has expressed concerns.) For its first project outside of the United States, OVG, which describes itself as being “focused on being a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports and live entertainment industry,” has assembled quite the impressive team for the super-sized project. Dutch construction behemoth Royal BAM Group, which has executed a wide number of major projects in Manchester as well as global sports and entertainment venues including O2 World in Berlin and Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, has been tapped as project contractor. The arena and stadium specialists at global design firm Populous (formerly part of HOK Group) will serve as principal architect for the new arena. In the U.K., Populous-designed venues include the new Wembley Stadium (with Foster + Partners), the First Direct Arena in Leeds, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, London’s Olympic Stadium, and many others. “This ground-breaking venue will set new benchmarks in sustainable arena design, as well as creating an experience and form that sits perfectly within Manchester’s architectural context and vibrant community,” said Declan Sharkey, senior principal and project architect at Populous, in a press statement. “We are delighted to be working with Oak View Group on its exciting vision for East Manchester.” With an estimated price tag just under $440 million, the privately funded OVG Manchester Arena will be the most expensive ever built in Europe. It’s expected to generate 1,000 local jobs when in operation and 3,500 jobs during the construction phase. Long, sleek, and somewhat resembling the world’s largest gaming console (or maybe a low stack of luminescent video cassettes), Populous noted that the LED-ringed venue’s “bold contemporary form complements the public realm and combines aesthetic beauty with a recognisable and identifiable profile that will be globally recognised as being inspired by contemporary Manchester.” Describing the easily reconfigurable venue as a “transformer-like bowl” that will allow spectators to be closer to the stage than any other comparable arena in Europe, Populous placed special emphasis on, as mentioned by Sharkey, sustainability as well as inclusivity in its design. Per the firm, the venue was specifically designed to meet Manchester’s Zero Carbon 2038 commitments and will rank among the most environmentally sensitive arenas in the world when complete. In addition to its low-carbon profile, the venue aims to be a low-waste facility, sending zero operational waste—not a single plastic cup or pie wrapper—to landfill. The stadium’s design will also go above and beyond in its inclusivity, paying special mind to not only the limitations presented by physical barriers but, according to a press statement, “barriers experienced by people who are neurodivergent, experience mental ill health, who are deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing and people who are blind or partially sighted.” To that end, the facility is aiming for Gold Standard certification from Attitude is Everything, a charity that aims to improve access to live music events for deaf and disabled individuals. As the Guardian has detailed, security is also a top concern in light of the 2017 terrorist bombing during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. In advance of the planning process, OVG has worked out a security strategy with the Greater Manchester Police, and notes that visitor safety will be “central to the design of the venue.” Construction is expected to take three years, provided that OVG Manchester Arena clears the planning stages.
Posts tagged with "Arenas":
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has revealed renderings and details of its Populous-designed MSG Sphere London, a massive, well, sphere set to sprout up in London. Similar to the forthcoming MSG sphere planned for Las Vegas, the London Sphere, if approved, would be covered in high-tech LED screens both inside and out, so that the event inside can be seen up to 500 feet away. The developer has selected a 4.7-acre site in Stratford, east London, according to The Guardian, close to the site of the 2012 Olympics Park. The 300-foot-tall, 400-foot-wide dome will hold around 17,500 seated guests and 21,500 seated and standing visitors, which would make it, if built as planned, the largest concert space in the entire United Kingdom. Inside, stadium seating will face a central stage, and a massive LED screen will clad the Sphere’s interior to augment the performance. Other than concerts, MSG has suggested that the venue might be used to host everything from award shows to esport competitions—all events that would benefit from an arena-spanning digital backdrop. The Sphere will also hold retail, a café, a 450-person restaurant and club, and a 1,500-person-capacity black box-type venue for local and emerging artists to perform in. Plans for the MSG Sphere London were submitted to the City of London on March 26, though London Mayor Sadiq Khan had already voiced his approval for the project when it was first revealed last February. If the scheme is approved, construction would take three years, and MSG expects that the entertainment dome could be completed by 2022. However, Khan's approval doesn't mean the project will face smooth sailing, as local residents have argued that up to 1,400 new housing units could be built on the site instead. Across the pond, construction on the Las Vegas Sphere is well underway, and the venue is expected to open in 2021. The 18,000-seat arena will feature high-tech perks such as speedy internet at every seat, and “planar audio waves”—concentrated, targeted sound—bounced directly to each guest courtesy the German company Holoplot.
A $50 million, esports arena is coming to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex courtesy of designers Populous, Comcast Spectacor (Comcast’s sports and entertainment division), and developer The Cordish Companies. Once complete, the geometric Fusion Arena will hold up to 3,500 seats and will be the largest esports venue in the Western Hemisphere. Fusion Arena certainly isn’t the first competitive videogame venue in the country (before this, Populous’s Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas was the largest in the U.S.), and it likely won’t be the last thanks to the meteoric popularity of esports in recent years. The difference with this project is that the ground-up esports arena will house a Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, similar to the professional-team-and-home-field-stadium model seen in traditional sports. Philadelphia's new Fusion Arena from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo. For the arena’s exterior, Populous took a cue from the angular, high-contrast world of gaming hardware and peripherals. The building’s vertically-striated black facade wraps several colorful overhangs and is reminiscent of a kitted-out gaming mouse in form. Industrial materials were used both inside and out in reference to Philadelphia’s manufacturing history. Other than the stadium seating, the building will hold a 10,000-square-foot training facility for players to practice in, as well as a broadcast studio for livestreaming, and team offices. A 6,000-square-foot, 30-foot-tall entrance hall will greet visitors. When not in use for competitive gaming, it’s expected that the arena will be used to host year-round live events. Fusion Arena is expected to break ground sometime this summer.
The University of Idaho (UI) in Moscow, Idaho, has partnered with the state’s timber industry, and Portland-based Opsis Architecture, to construct their newest multi-use basketball arena out of mass timber. The Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) recently purchased the naming rights for the arena for $10 million, meaning the arena is now well on its way to breaking ground, with $34 million of the needed $45 million accounted for. With a 4,200-seat basketball court, practice court, offices, locker rooms, conference spaces for both the men and women’s basketball programs, and volleyball courts, university officials have expressed hope that the arena would jumpstart athletic fundraising, as well as architectural and engineering interest in the school. In addition to the sports facilities, the 70,000-square-foot space will double as convention space and also be used to alleviate overcrowding in other buildings on campus. Designed to showcase the massive curvilinear roof that drapes itself over the building, Opsis has chosen to leave the structural timber elements exposed throughout the project. V-shaped timber columns are on prominent display above the entrance, while the underside of the roof features a curving lattice of wooden beams that’s visible from everywhere in the building. Light wood finishes have been used in the few interior areas where the structural elements are hidden, and the building’s exterior will be clad in metal paneling. If completed, the ICCU Arena will be the largest mass timber arena in the country, and the ICCU would retain naming rights for the next 35 years. Opsis is shooting for a LEED Silver certification or higher. The national firm Hastings + Chivetta has signed on as the interior architect / Sports planner, and KPFF are the consulting structural engineers. Assuming fundraising continues at the same pace, UI officials expect construction to complete in 2020, and possibly as soon as 2019. The accelerated timetable makes sense considering the advantages in construction speed that mass timber provides, especially as the materials would be locally sourced.
With the announcement of a new $1 billion arena "village" in Nassau County, Long Island, the New York Islanders will be leaving Barclays Center in Brooklyn and returning to their namesake island. Not only will the Belmont Park arena hold 18,000 seats, but it will be accompanied by an adjacent 435,000-square-foot, mixed-use development. The Islanders had been looking to return to suburban Long Island since they first moved to Brooklyn. Plagued by complaints about poor seating arrangements and the technical limitations of converting Barclays Center from a basketball venue into a hockey arena, the team has now officially settled on the New York State–owned parking lot next to the Belmont Park Racetrack, home of the famous Belmont Stakes. After their proposal to Empire State Development was accepted yesterday, team owners and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the details of the new venue in a joint press conference. While no information was given on the cost of the arena itself, the team’s majority owner, Jon Ledecky, has said that it will be built using private funds. Sterling Project Development has signed on as a development partner, with the New York branch of Populous listed as the architect for the project. This isn’t the first time the two have worked together, as the duo previously teamed up to build Citi Field in Queens, and Minneapolis’s Target Field. Renderings and plans released for the project show that the development will connect directly with the Long Island Railroad’s Belmont Park station, which will become a full-time stop after the arena’s completion; previously the station was only active during the horseracing season. Because that season runs from May to October, there wouldn’t be much overlap with the hockey season, although one of the included renderings proposes converting the arena into a concert hall during the off-season. Other than the luxury hotel, retail and dining options proposed for the “village” section of the project, a large grandstand area has been laid out to the north of the arena that looks down on the neighboring horse paddock and racetrack. More intriguing is how the plans have set aside an “innervation/incubator community space” to the far south. It remains to be announced how that area will be used, or whether Populous will also be designing the non-arena portions of the site, as well. Although the Islanders have given a 2020 completion date for the project, the team might glide back to Long Island before then. Governor Cuomo has urged the National Hockey League to allow the Islanders to play at Nassau Coliseum in the interim after this season, although Barclays Center officials are hoping that the team will renew its lease with them instead.
The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board has granted landmark status for the city’s iconic Key Arena, a move that will help guide recently-proposed renovations for the 55-year-old structure. Earlier this year, Los Angeles–based developers Oak View Group unveiled a speculative bid to renovate and update the aging structure in an attempt to lure professional basketball and hockey teams to the Emerald City. The $564 million scheme was selected by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in lieu of a competing bid from AEG and Hudson Pacific Properties, partially because Oak View’s proposal sought to keep intact more of the structure’s historic, character-defining features, like its hyperbolic paraboloid roof. The recent landmark designation is expected to aid in this endeavor by creating a predictable and orderly scope for the renovations to proceed. Potentially, the landmark status could also allow the development to benefit from historic tax credits. The structure, according to Arena Digest, was recognized by the preservation board for meeting all six thresholds for historic designation, with the building’s roof, exterior walls, and structural trusses receiving official status. Key Arena was designed by architect Paul A. Thiry in 1962 as the Washington State Pavilion for the Century 21 Exposition. The structure became a sports arena in the years after the exposition and played home to the Seattle Supersonics professional basketball team from 1967 until 2008 when the team decamped for Oklahoma City. The structure received extensive renovations in 1995 that partially impacted the now-historic roof structure. It is unclear how or if the new renovation scheme will seek to repair these changes.
There’s nothing more American than sports, so just in time for America's birthday, here’s a look at some of the biggest stadium projects in the works—from the world's most expensive stadium to a celebrity-backed soccer field. Ford Field (Detroit Lions) The Lions’ Ford Field Stadium will be undergoing a $44 million renovation of its interiors in a project led by Detroit-based Rossetti. “Our goal has been to bring the fan experience up to standards and beyond while customizing the design for Detroit,” said Jim Renne, sports principal at Rossetti and lead designer of the original stadium. Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles Football Club) The 22,000-seat and $250 million stadium for the LAFC is now under construction. Designed by Gensler in a "European-style" arrangement with steeply-raked and sweeping seating areas, the open-air stadium is meant to bring viewers in a closer relationship to the field and players. Oakland Raiders stadium The Oakland Raider's have purchased a 62-acre-site in Las Vegas for their new stadium, which will be designed by Kansas City, Missouri–based Manica Architecture. The stadium, which is expected to cost $77.5 million, will seat up to 65,000 people. The NFL team's move to the new stadium follows two years of drama and they plan to move in 2020, just in time for the start of the season. Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland Cavaliers) As one of the oldest National Basketball Association (NBA) stadiums in use, the Quicken Loans Arena will get a $140 million refurbishment from SHoP Architects and Rossetti. The new design will see a new glazed facade which stretches the stadium’s footprint closer to the street edge, as well as an increase in space at the entrance and exit gangway areas. “The $140 million transformation, half of which the Cavalier’s will be paying, ensures that this public facility will remain competitive in the future,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a press release. David Beckham's Major League Soccer stadium Soccer star David Beckham is making moves with a Populous-designed, 25-000 seat stadium. What's catching attention, however, is not the celebrity attachment: it's that there won't be parking. Instead, fans are expected to use Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ridesharing, and plain-old walking to get to the stadium. LA Rams stadium Once completed in 2019, this stadium will be the world's most expensive, clocking in at a whopping $2.66 billion. Dallas-based HKS designed the new LA Rams stadium with more than 36,000 aluminum panels, which will have 20 million perforations punched into them. The perforations in the metal skin respond to the variable Southern California climate without the need for an HVAC system. This creates an effect of being outside, according to HKS. RFK Stadium In a $500 million vision to revamp the sites around the RFK Memorial Stadium after it's demolished in 2019, Events D.C., the city’s semi-independent convention and sports authority, unveiled plans to build it up with three multi-purpose athletic fields, a 47,000-square-foot food market hall, and a 350,000-square-foot indoor sports complex. “The RFK Stadium Armory-Campus—currently under-utilized—is poised to be transformed into a vibrant place that connects D.C. to the Anacostia River,” OMA partner Jason Long told the Washington Business Journal. Villanova University basketball stadium The university's basketball fans will have a new stadium to cheer on the Wildcats for the 2018-2019 season (in time for March Madness) when the renovation designed by Philadelphia-based EwingCole is completed. There will be a new lobby, concourse, and hall of fame greeting visitors. “It was important to Villanova that we celebrate the uniqueness of The Pavilion while creating an unmatched Division I basketball experience for the players and the fans,” said Bill McCullough, principal of EwingCole’s sports practice, in a prepared statement. The Texas Rangers' new Arlington, Texas ballpark Dallas-based architecture firm HKS has been chosen to design a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers baseball team. The stadium will be constructed as a public-private partnership between the team and the City of Arlington: It will serve as the Rangers’ home field and as a multipurpose arena for high school, college, and international sports. The Portland Timbers' stadium expansion Allied Works Architecture (AWA) has unveiled designs for a $50 million expansion to the 91-year-old soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon’s Providence Park, home to the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns soccer teams. The stadium expansion, according to information on the AWA website, is conceptually inspired by William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and will aim to add roughly 4,000 seats to the existing stadium complex.
Owned by AEG and MGM Resorts International, the 650,000-square-foot T-Mobile Arena is the result of a three year process involving Populous and Hunt-Penta Joint Venture. The building showcases smart urbanistic principles, aiming to extend pedestrian amenities west from Las Vegas Boulevard along the formerly-named Rue de Monte Carlo (updated to Park Ave) with around 16 acres of park-like entertainment space. The project team, led by Brad Clark, Senior Principal at Populous, took inspiration from the surrounding desert by prioritizing a contextual design response that resulted in two unique facade systems: a thermal wrapper of insulated metal panels, and a curtain wall paired with a curvilinear LED screen. “Our team felt pretty strongly the building should be contextual and of Las Vegas,” said Clark. “Not just the city but the region. Everything in Vegas seems to be a re-creation of something else. We wanted this building to be more authentic than that.” The LED facade takes advantage of an axial connection to Park Avenue, orienting the arena’s main entrance to the northeast, facing Las Vegas Boulevard. Gabe Braselton, Project Architect at Populous says this offers a unique experience for pedestrians: “It really becomes a beacon as you're coming down the Rue de Monte Carlo off of the Strip.” Populous programmed the building to maximize its engagement to urban Vegas, pushing support spaces (restrooms, concessions, vendors, first aid rooms, etc.) to the perimeter to open up a large lobby space at the main entrance where a 1,000-person terrace hovers overhead. Above this, numerous private balconies provide outdoor access for some of the 50 luxury suites lining the arena. All of this activity is overshadowed by the LED screen, which is composed of individual 1/2” thick 50mm pixel pitch sticks set 2” apart. The 9,000-square-foot electronic surface is structured off of a primary steel frame with secondary 6” tube steel members forming a doubly-curved surface that cants outward toward the Strip while curving around the elliptical arena facade. The dynamism of the surface is further articulated with a skew in elevation, producing a parallelogram-shaped screen area with acute angles. Despite a density of LED sticks producing high-resolution video and a daytime-visible brightness level, the screen is surprisingly porous and doubly-functions as a shading and ventilation device for the outdoor balcony spaces and building envelope. The screen is set 18” off a standard aluminum-framed curtain wall assembly which provides enclosure of the building envelope. While previous Populous projects have integrated LEDs into curtain wall assemblies, the scale and tectonics of this configuration is something new for the firm, which has a portfolio of more than 17 NBA/NHL arenas and 85 university and civic arenas. Braselton attributes the unique scale of this facade to evolving technology which is managing to keep up with flexible, multi-purpose architecturally innovative arena design: "as we push different ideas and boundaries, the marketplace for the different products evolves as well. Every couple of years there is something new to consider." The LED facade system accounts for around 25% of the arenas surface area. The other 75% of the building, including south and west exposures, provides thermal response to a harsh desert sun. The earth-toned coloration and stratified composition of the metal panels reflect Vegas’ desert environment and its distant mountain topography. This composition extends inward to the seating bowl which takes on similar design aesthetic. Contained within these two wrappers is a multi-purpose arena that accommodates a variety of events from concerts to sporting events, beauty pageants, circuses and rodeos. "This venue is the definition of multi-purpose." End-stage concerts drove the seating bowl layout, which limits seating behind the stage to maximize capacity for concerts and other events utilizing an end stage configuration. Capacity varies based on the event, ranging from 12,000 to 20,000. Multiple locker facilities, dressing rooms, green rooms and multipurpose spaces were included to accommodate the variety of events and performances that will occur in the building. Since opening, the NHL has awarded an expansion franchise to Las Vegas which will play at the arena. The project, designed to LEED Gold specifications, opened in April and anticipates around 100 to 150 events annually. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inpJWJ7tLhg
Molson Coors, the Canada-based beer brewing company has completed the construction of an hockey rink on top of a 32-story building in downtown Toronto as part of their #anythingforhockey campaign. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TST3BbW4-Us The mysterious rink was installed at 120 Adelaide St. W. in Toronto’s financial district over the last month and a half for an upcoming Molson beer commercial shoot. Building on last year’s #anythingforhockey event, which took hockey fanatics to a secluded rink on British Columbia’s Shamrock Lake high in the Rocky Mountains, hockey fans were asked to share what the sport means to them on social media. As with last year’s event, a handful of participants will be selected to play on the special rink. In a press release, Molson commented on how the rink is just the right size for a three on three game, which also happens to be the format for this year’s NHL All-Star game. https://youtu.be/cPzQl3l_D7Y Finished on January 10th, the rink is roughly one half the size of an NHL professional hockey rink. Like in the pros, the rink is has regulation height glass panels and netting surround the ice to prevent stray pucks from falling to the busy streets below. As for getting to the rink, new stairs were added to the building to provide access, but due to weight restrictions, only a limited number of people will be allowed up to the rink at any given time. Construction was accomplished with the help of cranes on neighboring building under construction, and some innovative ice and snow clearing solutions. As snow cannot be removed from the roof, the rink can be flooded with warm water to clear snow, and the ice itself when not in use. This technique is also used to smooth the ice, as a Zamboni machine is not practical for obvious reasons.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand for last week's groundbreaking of Chicago’s next new sports and entertainment arena by Pelli Clarke Pelli. The 10,000 seat McCormick Place Event Center will add to the already vast McCormick Place convention facilities as well as be the home court for the DePaul University Blue Demon’s college basketball team. Designed by New Haven–based Pelli Clarke Pelli, the 300,000 square foot arena will be connected to a 51-story, 1,200-room Marriott hotel by Gensler, also currently under construction. Scheduled to open in 2017, before the 2017–18 basketball season, the Event Center will also function as a concert venue and convention space. Filling an entire block, the arena steps back at its corners, providing outdoor gathering space. The building's expansive glass facade is punctuated by intermittent corrugated metal–paneled pavilions enclosing the building's services. Large digital displays weave from interior to exterior, broadcasting the night’s events, and animating the arena facade. The highly transparent entrances are meant to extend the arena’s experience out on to the public plaza and surrounding streets. As a means of connecting the project more directly to the neighborhood, the main event floor as well as concourse will sit at street level. Along with the highly transparent façade, there is a possibility that some of the restaurants and concessions may be accessible from the exterior of the building. A reveal in the seating will also allow for a direct view into the event space and to student seating area from the street. The building's most noticeable design element is its curved membrane roof. The light-weight structure arches over the event floor and seating in an homage to other gathering spaces in Chicago, such as the Auditorium Theater and the Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier. The nature of the roof also allows for large gill-like apertures, which will be lit at night, broadcasting the arena into the city.
Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena unveils major overhaul and expansion to stay relevant amid regional competition
A major renovation and expansion project planned for Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena could further change the face of the city's rapidly evolving riverfront. Nederlander Entertainment and AEG Facilities, the downtown arena’s owners, have not specified a cost or timeline for the project, but U.S. Bank will have to compete with a $70 million overhaul of Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus. Cincinnati architect Michael Schuster’s MSA Sport firm is leading the redesign of U.S. Bank, while Moody Nolan and Populous have the helm on the Fifth Third project. Writing in the Cincinnati Business Courier, Steve Watkins reported that the project may be an attempt to stave off arena irrelevance for Cincinnati, where the shadow of Louisville, Kentucky's Yum Center grows long:
I wrote in spring 2014 that the city needs a new or vastly renovated arena to compete with surrounding cities and lure many big-time events. At the time, some experts said Cincinnati will remain behind other cities without a brand-new facility. Peter Marrocco, vice president of business development and marketing at Walnut Hills-based HGC Construction, said a proper overhaul would cost $100 million, but even that might not work. “My concern is that’s not even going to get you up to par with Yum Center,” he said. “I don’t even think $100 million is going to be enough. We’d be putting a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound.”While the expansion adds only 500 regular concert seats, it will balloon the amount of club seats from 352 to 1,750. It will also add 40–60 suites in a new middle level closer to the stage. The lack of such suites apparently contributed to the arena losing its bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. (That convention will be held in Cleveland.) More images of the U.S. Bank Arena project, courtesy MSA Sport:
The implosion of an historic Detroit hotel on Saturday helped clear the way for a $650 million hockey arena that developers say will more than pay for itself in economic ripple effects, but critics see the demolition as the latest casualty of an ill-conceived scheme receiving public financing. The Red Wings will skate in a new arena slated to open in September 2017, the team and owner Mike Ilitch announced last year with splashy renderings and a pledge to "stabilize and develop dozens of underutilized blocks, create more jobs more quickly, and allow the city to spend public funds on other priorities.” But coming just weeks after Detroit became the largest city to declare bankruptcy in U.S. history, the Red Wings' management came under fire for their plan to use $283 million in public money (mostly in the form of tax increment financing). Vacant since 2003, the 13-story Park Avenue Hotel apparently stood in the way of the new arena's loading dock. Designed by Louis Kamper and completed in 1924, the Park Avenue Hotel was demolished over the weekend, its collapse captured in the drone video above. Since its glory days as a symbol of glitz in ascendant Detroit, the hotel had become a senior housing center and later a rehab facility. Locals gathered to bid the building farewell, reports the Detroit Free-Press. Meanwhile the public financing of arenas including the Red Wings' has sparked debate about whether wealthy private interests need such incentives from cash-strapped municipalities and states. The same day Detroit leveled the Park Avenue Hotel, late-night comedian John Oliver ridiculed the taxpayer funding of sports arenas on HBO, calling out the Red Wings and Ilitch in particular. The Red Wings responded today with a statement, saying "This project is about so much more than a world-class sports and entertainment arena; it's about transforming a core part of our city for the benefit of the entire community.” They did not, however, address Oliver's disdain for Little Caesars pizza, which Ilitch founded.