Over the next several years, Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center will receive major upgrades as the result of a multi-phase renovation. Some of the biggest changes will not be apparent until the project is fully complete, but early work on the Wells Fargo Center renovation will yield some additions for this fall.
Wells Fargo Center is an active venue—hosting the NBA’s 76ers and NHL’s Flyers, along with the Arena Football League’s Soul and numerous high-profile shows and events. It is also part of a generation of NBA and NHL arenas that are now receiving major upgrades, as it opened for both sports in 1996.
The Wells Fargo Center renovation is a $250 million project that is to take place over three phases, the last of which will begin in 2020. As with similar arena renovations in recent years, major construction projects will take place over the summer months to avoid interfering with play during the NBA and NHL seasons.
The first phase of the Wells Fargo Center renovation is already underway. Through this round of upgrades, the Wells Fargo Center will receive an improved Mezzanine level. Among the renovations taking place include new seating, upgraded concourses, and the addition of open-air lounge areas.
In another major change, construction crews will tear down much of Wells Fargo Center’s exterior wall. This will make way for a glass front that allows for views of the surrounding area, including the downtown Philadelphia skyline. With Wells Fargo Center open for several concerts this month, the plan is for demolition of the wall to begin at the end of June, according to a story last week from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The results of this summer’s upgrades will create an immediate change in some areas, but it reflects the overall strategy for the Wells Fargo Center renovation. In its full completion, the project will result in wider concourses and more social spaces throughout the arena, along with technology and seating upgrades. Future rounds of renovations will include work on the main concourse next year, followed by upgrades to the event level.
These renovations should not only make the Wells Fargo Center a viable arena for a longer period of time but allow it to maintain pace with trends unfolding around the NBA and NHL. Many of the venues that opened around the same period as Wells Fargo Center either have, or are about to receive, major renovations. This summer’s developments reflect that trend. In the NHL, St. Louis’s Enterprise Center will receive its latest renovations, while the NBA will see major work at Atlanta’s Philips Arena and Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. Another project that will affect teams in both the NBA and NHL is slated for Washington, where Capital One Arena will receive changes that affect the fan experience for games in both sports.
Those developments reflect the ongoing emphasis of arena renovations, with many 1990’s-era venues being upgraded rather than replaced. Wells Fargo Center can now be added to that mix, as it will receive an ambitious series of improvements that should have an effect on the fan experience.
Renderings courtesy Wells Fargo Center.