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New James Brown Arena design unveiled

We have a new James Brown Arena design, as the Augusta Commission is presented with the look of a proposed $228-million complex to replace the existing James Brown Arena.

A team led by H.B. Brantley of Atlanta-based Russell SPACE Venues that includes Perkins + Will architects and Hunden Strategic Partners presented the plan for a 10,000-capacity with 1,050 premium seats, 12 suites and several loge boxes.

The new arena is designed to be integrated with the existing Bell Auditorium, as shown below. The two facilities would share several spaces, including offices and a kitchen, to keep costs down.

The current plan is for the arena to host events; the biggest use for the current James Brown Arena is graduations. A larger venue would allow more popular concerts and events to tour through Augusta, and an optional ice system would allow additional sports.

The feedback from the Augusta Commission to the new James Brown Arena design was generally positive, per the Augusta Chronicle:

Augusta Commission members, who are being asked to put $25 million in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 8 package, said they were wowed by the presentation.

“I thought the presentation was excellent. It creates a lot of excitement and synergy. The firm that was contracted to do the arena did their due diligence, their market study, they put everything in place, including the parking aspect of it,” Commissioner John Clarke said.

“The design was really fantastic. It presented that ‘wow’ factor my colleagues are always asking for,” Commissioner Dennis Williams said. “It’s an opportunity to blend the Bell into the arena.”

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