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Suns’ Talking Stick Resort Arena changes advancing amid coronavirus

The Phoenix Suns’ renovations of Talking Stick Resort Arena are well underway and even ahead of the original schedule, president Jason Rowley told host Lindsey Smith on a new The Outlet podcast released Thursday.

Before the coronavirus shutdown that suspended the NBA season, the Suns planned to go into full demolition mode on the arena at the beginning of May. The schedule has been moved up to get ahead with the hope most of the renovations will be finished by the start of the scheduled 2020-21 season.

“We have literally moved up our construction schedule by an entire month,” Rowley said on the podcast.

The Suns’ production of The Outlet showed images of construction equipment knocking a hole in the wall that separated the front pavilion of Talking Stick Resort Arena with the bowl.

The team’s practice court, which is set below the event level, is already under demolition with plans for a high-end club to take its spot. The locker room is also already being demolished as well, the video shows.

Rowley said demolition crews have maintained social distancing precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and their working ahead will allow Phoenix to maneuver through potential supply chain problems caused by the COVID-19 restrictions.

As part of a $230 million project, about 70% of the arena renovations were expected to be done by the start of the 2020-21 season.

When social distancing measures are pulled back, the Suns’ basketball personnel will move to their under-construction practice facility north of Camelback Road on 44th Street.

The NBA season suspended on March 11, and Phoenix (26-39) had 17 games remaining. The season was originally set to end Wednesday.

If the 2019-20 NBA season does resume, the Suns said in a memo that they will play at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Veterans Memorial Coliseum will already be prepped for professional basketball, as the Phoenix Mercury were scheduled to move into the Suns’ old home for the 2020 season due to the renovations.

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