The 25-year-old home of the Utah Jazz is set for a facelift, as the team is moving forward with major renovations to Vivint Smart Home Arena.
One of the major steps for the project was completed last week, when the team received $22.7 million in tax increment financing (TIF) from The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City. This gives the team a boost as it plans the renovation process.
Under the current proposal, Vivint Smart Home Arena would be upgraded in several areas. Premium area, concession, seating, and main entry plaza overhauls are all on the table, as well as several other projects that will improve the venue’s infrastructure.
Highlighting those rounds of improvement is the installation of a photovoltaic solar panel system, which is similar to the solar array being placed at the Golden 1 Center, the new home of the Sacramento Kings. Work would also be done to the heating and air conditioning system, as well as the security system.
The vote by the redevelopment agency allows the Jazz to move forward with a plan that has been discussed for some time by the Larry H. Miller Group (LHM), the team’s ownership. More from the Desert News:
“We’re excited about the future of the renovation and what it means for our community,” said Utah Jazz President Steve Starks. “Today’s vote represents the support that the community has always had for the organization and the Miller family.”
Starks said the tax incentives “will enable us to move forward and bring the venue back to world class again.”
With financing now in place, the Miller organization will be able to update the aging 19,911-seat building — which annually hosts 1.8 million people for Utah Jazz games and numerous other events — thanks to a still-solid infrastructure and because of the meticulous upkeep it’s received since its creation.
LHM officials have been involved in a planning process with arena construction and renovation specialists, the ICON Venue Group and SCI Architects, to conduct a comprehensive review of possibilities, best practices, potential budgets and other recommendations.
In some respects, the time was ripe for the Jazz to pursue a renovation. Vivint Smart Home Arena is currently the sixth-oldest venue in the NBA, and it was at risk of falling behind more aged venues. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Target Center, which opened a year before Vivint Smart Arena, is currently being overhauled through a multi-phase renovation. In addition, the Milwaukee Bucks just broke ground on a new arena to replace the BMO Bradley Harris Center.
While it had previously been reported that NBA officials were considering a new arena for the Jazz, the team saw a few advantages to a renovation. For starters, the arena is located in downtown Salt Lake City, giving it a prime location. The Jazz and Salt Lake City have also been dilligent in the upkeep over the years, with a recent $15 overhaul by the team leading to upgrades in the video and audio production systems.
The total project is slated to cost about $125 million, with the TIF accounting for about 18% of that price tag. That contribution will be reimbursed to LHM via property tax through 2040. Under the current timeline, the renovation will be completed by the start of the 2017-2018 season.