A new, improved Hawks building? Really?

Philips Arena, what a dump. (AJC photo)

Philips Arena, what a dump. (AJC photo)

There are 29 arenas serving as home to the NBA’s 30 teams (what with the Lakers and Clippers cohabitating). Approximately two-thirds of them (19) are the same age or older than Philips Arena, the latest Atlanta complex in the crosshairs of change. So, no, the 16-year-old building is not outdated by any relative measure.

It is a vibrant place, consistently ranked among the top five busiest arenas in the U.S. by Pollstar Magazine. So, no, it is not a decrepit venue, hemorrhaging money.

The home of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, is the oldest in the league (built in 1966, given a $120 million reno in 1997). So, no, new construction is not a necessary component to winning.

Still, you just knew it was coming, this push for major changes in the Hawks play place. Even before new ownership took over the team – bringing with it the imperative to build its own temple. Before a 60-win season gave the Hawks added clout. As soon as construction began on new buildings for the Falcons and Braves, you had to know that the Hawks were going to get in line and ask, “When’s it going to be our turn?”

The expiration date on our sporting palaces keeps shrinking. Now we can’t even get to the second decade before there are serious rumblings about the inadequacy of some of our grandest projects. Might as well just keep the construction crews on retainer, constantly working on the next big building, so teams can regularly rotate in and out. Pretty soon, it will be like leasing a car – you get that new owner feeling every couple of years.

By any rational observation, Philips Arena is just fine as it is. But these are not rational times, not with Mad New Construction Disease sweeping the land.

Surely the Hawks won’t, like the Braves, pick up and move out of the city center and nearer the suburbs.

Not after all they went through last year with the old owner getting put through the wringer by his too-many-black-fans stance.

Not after CEO Steve Koonin doubled down on the Hawks urban connection. It was Koonin who was so passionate about building a hip, downtown vibe. It was Koonin who uttered the term “Alpharetta Unicorn,” putting to myth the idea that the Hawks fan base was centered anywhere but inside the Perimeter.

So, perhaps, the best we can hope for is a facelift on the current building. Soak the visitors and the tax payers for a couple hundred million, slap on a new coat of paint, and move on into the great competitive unknown.

Even that is a preposterous notion, as is performing plastic surgery on any other 16-year-old. However, if doing nothing is not an option, as new owner Tony Ressler asserts, then it is the least noxious option.

Reader Comments 0

38 comments
SaulK
SaulK

kasim needs to come up with a bunch of money to keep these new billionaire owners happy! if not, they'll move the team to seattle.

km42
km42

Location for the Hawks is excellent IMO.  Parking is good, and if Marta could get their act together, the flow of people would improve.


As far as taxpayers needing to help.........its going to be tough to add to what Arthur is getting.  It will be a few years to get past those commitments.  Arthur was smart;  he got in first.


This city needs the Hawks and basketball in general.  We should be looking for ways to bring in more basketball, not talking about moving out a team that 'finally' has broken through their 1st round limitations of the past decade.


Don't screw up now ATL....right now, they're the only winning them out there!

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

See below for the correct comments. The TAXPAYERS get it.


The new uniforms suck too.

atlfalconno1fan
atlfalconno1fan

they love to build uneeded stadiums and arena,s for millionaires but the roads ,infrustructure ,and quality of life and traffic sucks like a peachtree street hooker..and only one championship for the city??establish a winning tradition first! 

Thrash
Thrash

If they push for a new arena, let the Hawks move out of town.  If someone like Alpharetta wants to build the Hawks an arena, let them.  If they want a renovated Philips Arena, make sure they foot a minimum of 51% and sign a binding lease agreement for at least 20 years on the building.  

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Build it, they deserve it especially if the Braves and the Falcons have a new one coming Do what it takes for a better fan experience even if it is a remodel. 

washking
washking

@SomewherenSGa What does what the Braves/Falcons teams are doing have anything to do with Hawks needs?

afx
afx

renovation necessary to Philips not because it to old, but because training and rehabilitation is about the worsts in NBA, one of the reasons free agents reluctant to sign in Atlanta. so appears architects screw up project when it designed. I think you know that Steve, so it fair to mention that in article.   

OriginalATLien
OriginalATLien

@afx  What the heck did you just say.....reading your post was like listening to Boom-Hauser on King of the Hill. Can someone decipher his post please?

PantherFan18
PantherFan18

@Jacketa$$ Man! Always have to have the idiot racist rant and vent about President Obama (economy is doing quite well, and race

skeeterN
skeeterN

I'm sure most would agree that Coke is one the world's most recognizable company; definitely the most recognizable in Atlanta. I remember when coke built it head quarter in the late 70's on North Ave. I'm sure there have been a renovation or two, but they have not built a new building every 15 freaking years!!  Could it possible be because they haven't threaten the tax payers of Atlanta and GA that they wil relocate to NY, LA, or Chitown if they don't get a bigger and brighter toy??


Billionaires asking for hand outs and want-to-be mayors and county commissioners going along for the ride.SMDH

PJ25
PJ25

Even the most bullish person in the financial world knows we're due for another correction/recession, and you just know it's going to hit when all 3 of the stadiums are half way completed and the taxpayers will finally get infuriated as they lose their jobs by the thousands. 

smells like bananas
smells like bananas

The NBA wouldn't let the Hawks move otherwise a Seattle based ownership group would have bought the Hawks for probably quite a bit more . The argument has always been about the luxury boxes but Phillips has quite abit of those . I think the new ownership group is playing gamesmanship for some renovations and I have no problem with that . Suburbia might get up for the Braves but not seeing the NBA .

DGAD
DGAD

What the hell, go ahead and build another billionaire owner a new place for his team to play. Just remember, you'll get no parking and concession fees AND they never have to pay you back!!!

Jacketa$$
Jacketa$$

Wow all you people are kill joys.  Spend the money, I love seeing new sports venues in Georgia as long as i'm not footing the bill.  Build on!  Its good for this crappy Obama economy anyway.  Go Hawks!

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@Jacketa$$ That has to be a record for how long it took someone to mention the President in a completely unrelated article.  Congrats, I guess.

NodnarbRessor
NodnarbRessor

@Jacketa$$  Well, you more than likely WILL be footing the bill in one way or another.  You don't expect the ownership to pay 100% do you? 

Kenn6664
Kenn6664

@Jacketa$$ Crappy Obama economy?? are you seriou, you really sound like a fool..lets not go there because you really don't want to talke about what we had before President Obama(yes I said President)

NodnarbRessor
NodnarbRessor

If they want a new arena...let them move the team.  I can go along with some upgrading to the current arena, but this is getting ridiculous with everybody wanting new buildings.  The Seattle Hawks would go right along with the Seattle Seahawks.

John Galt 47
John Galt 47

BOHICA. It could probably use a little freshening up, especially the bathrooms. But a major remodeling or a new arena is just insane.


As far as the previous owner's whole race deal goes, I think that was way overblown. There is nothing wrong with looking around and asking where all the white people are when they are the vast majority of the population and hold most of the money. That's simply good business sense. Maybe their wording could have been better, but nothing wrong with the meat of what they were saying.

fez
fez

I understand the need for some renovations, as the previous owners neglected the arena entirely.  Upgrade the old television panels by the escalators and replace all the broken toilet seats, but there's certainly no need for a new building.  Taxpayers should not be on the hook for any upgrades either.

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Just keep the colored folks out of my neighborhood.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

We all dont mind for your bigot piece of shid self to stay in your trailer park

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

If the team's businessmen wish to demand a better place to play and if Mayor Quasim does not deliver, then the owner has the right to take His team where they will build Him a good building. It's called free markets my pals and we should love it for that fact. Amen, Bill 

SaulK
SaulK

the new hawks billionaire owners will demand a new, state of the art arena soon---if not, they will threaten to move the team to vegas or seattle---out there, they can get all the money they want !

Wayne_stuck_in_AL
Wayne_stuck_in_AL

The Hawks are paying (and the Thrashers have paid) the price for Ted Turner's demand that he could walk from his penthouse to  a game in his pajamas.


That said, there is really no place in Metrolanta that would be 100% perfect.

RadioPat
RadioPat

@Wayne_stuck_in_AL the location arena is not a problem. It is still going to be next to a brand new dome, convention center and major hotel/tourist destination. Not to mention Marta runs right to the arena. The issue is that the arena is now in need of a face lift. Most arenas do need one after 15-20 years. The arena has so much space that could be used in a different way. I look forward to the reconstruction.  

ATL_Independent
ATL_Independent

NO MORE TAX PAYER MONEY for Sports Venues!  Philips Arena is fine.  Let the billionaire owners pay for what they "need".

KnoGood
KnoGood

@ATL_Independent please proceed to seal off your pie hole.  We didnt here a peep out of you when the new Braves stadium was announced..