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Blue Cross Arena Upgrades on Tap

Blue Cross Arena rendering

Upgrades to Rochester, NY’s Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial are moving forward, as more than $18 million in improvements are planned for the venue. 

New details on the project were announced on Thursday by Rochester mayor Lovely Warren. Under the current framework, Pegula Sports and Entertainment–owner of hockey’s Rochester Americans (AHL) and an upcoming expansion National Lacrosse League team that will use the facility–will make a $1.5 million contribution that includes a new center-hung videoboard, which is expected to be installed by this fall. In addition, the state senate’s $3.5 million contribution for the upgrades is coming through.

Improvements to the arena are expected to be covered by several sources, including money from Rochester, the state, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment. Among the Blue Cross Arena upgrades on tap include an expanded Exchange Street side, as well as improvements to its Genesee River side. More from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

The state awarded $10.5 million for the arena in June 2016. Of that total, only the Assembly’s share had come through, allowing the city to move ahead this past spring on planning for a $3.5 million first phase of an Exchange Street expansion, to include upgrades to bathrooms as well as sound and lighting systems. City Council OK’d hiring Bergmann Associates back in July.

1. Funding comes through. The full project, with a matching Senate allotment, expands concessions and office areas, adding two stories on the Exchange Street side of the arena. Work could begin in 2020, according to the city, though PSE officials hope it is completed by then.

2. Waiting on Albany. That leaves the governor’s office portion of that 2016 award, which drew money from the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative announced in December 2015, upping the total award to $6 million, and included in the Roc the Riverway announcement in August. This money will go toward improving the Genesee River side of the area, possibly creating a (585) restaurant similar to the (716) Food and Sport at the Harborcenter in Buffalo, Warren said….

3. Finishing out the dollar commitment. The city has pledged $3.3 million to the arena, covering expenses such as the new marquee, unveiled this past December, and a roof replacement. The New York Power Authority pledged $275,000 for lighting.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment is currently managing the arena on an interim basis, but is in negotiations with the city to complete a long-term agreement. The organization assumed that role this summer, after the city parted ways with SMG. Backed by Terry and Kim Pegula, Pegula Sports and Entertainment’s portfolio of teams also includes the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

Rendering courtesy Bergmann Associates. 

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