Fort Wayne has taken a major step towards building a new downtown arena, as the city has approved an architectural and engineering contract.
The discussion in Fort Wayne is centered around developing a new arena that would host mid-level concerts and events, with the capacity likely in the 5,000-to-6,000 seat range. Officials are hoping that the new arena will compliment rather than detract from existing venues, including the Memorial Coliseum (shown above), the Embassy Theatre, and the Grand Wayne Center.
In carrying out that objective, the city has tabbed the Denver-based Sink Combs Dethlefs, which will evaluate potential uses, design, and cost estimates. More from the Journal Gazette:
“As we were putting the request for proposals together, it was really important for us to find candidates for this assignment that had significant arena and event center design expertise and experience,” said Steve Brody, who chaired the CIB’s request for proposals committee. “We have great local architectural firms but none of them have had any breadth of activity with the kind of facility we’re talking about.”
Brody said Sink Combs Dethlefts has done work on more than 50 arena projects. Those projects include Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Portland, Maine; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Oklahoma City; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Independence, Missouri.
The work is expected to be finished in December and will be used to evaluate whether the project should proceed to the next phase. Brody said the board will be looking for a facility with a distinctive exterior design with a very functional interior.
“We want this facility to be really busy and we want there to be activity there as often as possible,” Brody said. “So this programming phase, where we’re thinking about what kind of events will be held there, will partly drive how the interior will be designed.”
There has been a critical mass of development in downtown Fort Wayne over the last several years, triggered in part by Parkview Field, home of MiLB’s Fort Wayne TinCaps. A new arena would try to tap into that demand, as a site next to the Grand Wayne Center has previously been identified as a possible location for the project.