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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: