Talking Stick Resort Arena project already in motion for Suns

Feb 11, 2020, 11:18 AM | Updated: 7:47 pm
Renderings of the Talking Stick Resort Arena upgrades (Photo courtesy Phoenix Suns)...
Renderings of the Talking Stick Resort Arena upgrades (Photo courtesy Phoenix Suns)
(Photo courtesy Phoenix Suns)

The $230 million-plus project to update Talking Stick Resort Arena is expected to go full-bore the day after the Phoenix Suns’ season ends.

Already, the team is getting ahead on demo work and outside upgrades to their home with the expectation that 70% of the arena will be upgraded by the 2020-21 season that starts this October.

“Hopefully we’re able to fight our way in the playoffs here — if that happens then whenever that last game of the season is, the very next day the crews roll in and we are are shut down and we’re rolling 24/7 a day for the next five months until we open up,” Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

“I would call it 70% of the overall renovation work will be done by October of 2020. What will be left the following summer is some work on the roof, the suite-level reconstruction. We’re going to be redoing all of our suites, putting up clubs in the suite level. We have to phase those into the second summer.”

Otherwise, the home of the Suns will look very different come next season.

Rowley said the 70% of the project that will be done this summer includes installing a new scoreboard, demolishing the wall to open the seating bowl to the pavilion, new signage, new club spaces and assembling the sports bar with TV screens in said pavilion.

With all that said, Rowley doesn’t call the project a renovation. He calls it a transformation.

“That’s not really semantics,” he added. “It’s truly going to be a completely different building. We’ve put out a lot of videos and schematics and design drawings for people to take look at, and those are terrific. They kind of show what the vision is, but I’m telling everybody you won’t believe it when you see it.”

The work toward that end has been ongoing.

The Suns are already constructing a new commerce area on the southeast side of Talking Stick Resort Arena. Pulling ceiling tiles and doing work on the event level have not gotten in the way of the day-to-day operations of the Suns or the events held at their home.

With the arena going into full construction mode come the end of the Suns’ season, the team expects its practice facility located on 44th Street and Camelback Road to be up and running by summertime. The building has already begun going vertical.

“We are fast-tracking that,” Rowley said. “The target date to have it open is the later part of July or early part of August this year so the team will be moving all the basketball operations this coming summer.”

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