Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial is in line for a major overhaul, as Rochester officials are looking for ways to spruce up the venerable venue.
First opening in 1955, Blue Cross Arena has undergone some changes over the years, but arena management and city officials are concerned that the venue is too out-of-date to attract major events. That is why the city is looking to move forward with a multi-phased renovation to the venue.
The financing still needs to be worked out, but Rochester could be in line for funding from the State of New York. Once finalized, the renovation would take place over multiple phases and improve areas such as the concessions, technology, club seating, and more.
Rochester mayor Lovely Warren says that a new arena is not financially viable for the city but that, if it can move forward, the renovations could new life to Blue Cross Arena. More from the Democrat & Chronicle:
Instead, the city is going ahead with a multiphase effort backed by $10.5 million in state funds to renovate the facility, with work beginning as early as this summer, Warren said. The state has yet to release the money to the city, she said.
City officials discussed plans for the arena while unveiling a new marquee used to show video clips and stream live events just a few feet from the main entrance of the arena. The city allocated money from its capital budget for the marquee.
“We’re basically optimistic and hopeful that within the next couple weeks (or) months that money will be secured and we will be able to start this summer in upgrading the facility,” Warren said. “The tens of thousands of visitors who come in each year to go to games and see shows at this venue bring life and energy to our downtown.
“Facilities like the Blue Cross Arena are crucial to the success of our downtown and our city as a whole.”
Blue Cross Arena has a distinguished history, having hosted the NBA’s Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) from 1955-1957. It is currently the home of the AHL’s Rochester Americans, along with the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks, and the Premier Basketball League’s Rochester Razorsharks.