HAMILTON, Ontario (CelebrityAccess) — Venue management and advisory company Oak View Group announced a partnership with Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) to oversee the redevelopment of the FirstOntario Centre.
The deal marks Oak View Group’s first foreign development property and will serve as the launching point for the company’s first regional office in Canada.
The planned development will include a major refurbishment of the FirstOntario Centre, with planned upgrades including a new building exterior, a reconfiguration of the arena’s lower bowl, an expanded concourse level and a new, flexible curtaining system for the upper bowl balcony.
New fan-facing amenities planned for the arena include a microbrewery, as well as new suites, and hospitality clubs.
The refurb will be funded with a $50 million investment from the Precinct Group, along with a private investment that OVG says will be “substantially greater” than the amount pledged under the current master agreement with the City.
In addition to the refurb of the arena, the plan also includes more than $500 million to be invested in auxiliary mixed-use development, with an eye towards transforming the area around the arena into a Distillery District-inspired mixed-use district, with retail, recreation, and residential components.
The arena aspect of the project is expected to begin construction in the fall of 2020 and take approximately two years to complete. Internationally renowned arena architect BBB, who managed the renovation of Madison Square Garden in New York City, will lead the arena renovation design.
“I have been very fortunate in my career to be part of the Toronto community and call Canada home. I saw first-hand the continued growth in the Toronto Metro area, and we believe Hamilton in particular, needs a venue that reflects the growth, great fans, and community thus requiring that new facilities are developed and new opportunities are created. We believe Hamilton is the perfect market to plant our first OVG Canada flag and will be a venue that compliments Toronto and the Scotia Bank Arena. We think there is a need, an opportunity to transform the current arena and we are extremely excited to be partners with the City of Hamilton and HUPEG on their vision,” said OVG CEO Tim Leiweke.
“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with OVG, a forward-thinking pioneer in the world of sports and live entertainment. By joining forces with their impressive team of industry champions, we are one step closer to achieving our vision of transforming Hamilton’s beloved arena into a destination for sports fans, music lovers, and families,” added PJ Mercanti, president of HUPEG.