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Ford Center (slowly) getting ready for the NBA

With the city of Seattle and the owners of the Seattle SuperSonics (NBA) reaching a settlement of their legal spat — clearing the way for a move of the franchise next season — management of the Ford Center must now get cracking on renovations to the arena.

The original plan had the Seattle SuperSonics (NBA) moving to Oklahoma City for the 2010-2011 season, so renovations to Ford Center were planned based on that timeline. And while we’re pretty sure the management at Ford Center was pretty happy to see the Sonics move to Oklahoma City early, it did put pressure on them to accelerate the pace on the improvement side.

But there is only so much you can do in a short period of time, and NBA fans will need to be patient as the extreme makeover to Ford Center is implemented on a multi-year basis.

This year’s main renovations focus on how the arena will appear to the public: improved lighting makes for clearer high-definition broadcasts, so a $450,000 contract will be released for bid this summer. It’s a relatively short timeline for these improvements — remember, the arena must be usable by the Oklahoma City Blazers (CHL) for the hockey season, which begins before the NBA season — and the fans who came to watch the Hornets may not see much of a change.

Most of the renovations will take place next summer, when new club-level restaurants will be put in as well as several other amenities in what will be a $100 million makeover. A main goal of the renovation will be to add revenue-generating food facilities, including new concession stands, up to six restaurants (including a high-end steakhouse — something we think is fairly mandatory in a market like Oklahoma City), family areas, upgraded suites, loge boxes (complete with private refrigerators) and "bunker suites," which are really high-end retreats for those sitting in the expensive seats.

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