The Atlanta Metro area is adding another sports venue, as Gateway Center Arena @ College Park hosts an event this weekend.
In a project that has been in the works for the past few years, College Park, GA will open a new arena that accommodates professional basketball and events such as concerts, local graduations, and sports tournaments. The NBA Gatorade League’s College Park Skyhawks–owned by NBA parent Atlanta Hawks–have been lined up to play at the venue, and it was announced recently that the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream is planning to move to the Gateway Center Arena @ College Park beginning in the 2020 season.
As a whole, the Atlanta area features numerous sports and entertainment venues, including the Hawks’ State Farm Arena, Infinite Energy Center in suburban Gwinnett County–home to hockey’s Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL)–and a mix of collegiate venues from institutions such as Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University. For College Park officials, the hope is that Gateway Center Arena @ College Park can fill a niche in the market by drawing a mix of tournaments, concerts, and community events, while having positive economic implications on the area. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Jack Longino, the mayor of College Park, said he doesn’t expect the arena to make money on its own. The city would not share information about contracts with the Skyhawks, but The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported previously that they would be paying $5,000 a game in rent. Longino said the contract with the Dream is not final. While the city wants to sell naming rights and sponsorships, no deals have been inked.
Like [College Park native Nickolas] Parker, Longino expects the benefits from the arena to ripple, to result in more meals at local restaurants and more stays at local hotel rooms. Unlike sports venues built for baseball teams in Cobb and Gwinnett counties, Longino said, taxpayers won’t be on the hook for any more than the $9 million from the general fund that went to pay for the project. Bond payments will largely be covered by car rental taxes, he said, and travelers will foot the bill.
“I’m thoroughly convinced the arena is going to outperform anything we ever imagined,” he said.
The arena itself is cozy, with a single level of seating and hard plastic chairs with attached cupholders. There are two large video boards, one on each end of the seating area, and scrolling ribbon boards on parts of the perimeter. There are four concession stands, one of which is slated to be filled by a local vendor, and room for food and drink kiosks around the concourse. And the building is soundproof, so people won’t have their event interrupted by airplanes, which fly by about every three minutes.
The arena will open with a festival on Saturday, with the Skyhawks set to play their inaugural home opener on November 21.
Rendering via Atlanta Dream.
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