Heartland Real Estate Business

FEB 2018

Heartland Real Estate Business magazine covers the multifamily, retail, office, healthcare, industrial and hospitality sectors in the Midwest.

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30 • February 2018 • Heartland Real Estate Business www.REBusinessOnline.com NEW ARENA DESIGN RAISES FAN ENGAGEMENT The inverted bowl concept draws the audience and performers closer together. By Matt Rossetti A s mixed-use design and development continue to grow in popularity, and de- velopers continue to refine their formulas for delivering more entertainment into commercial spaces, it was perhaps in- evitable that design and development professionals would set their sights on the ultimate, iconic venue for sports, games and enter- tainment: the arena. Historically, the sheer size of the large-scale stadiums and arenas ca- pable of hosting sporting events and concerts makes them an awk- ward fit for mixed-use integration. The larger-than-life nature of arenas traditionally lacks the intimacy and human engagement that feature so prominently in the best mixed-use environments. And it isn't just the scale of the ven- ue that presents a challenge; it's the inherently inward-facing nature of an arena, and the logistical and design difficulties associated with parking and other event-related necessities. Today, with urban environments becoming increasingly popular and profitable targets for redevelopment initiatives and dense mixed-use proj- ects, the tighter confines and relative lack of space available in city centers have arguably made those challenges even more significant. Lessons learned Owners, developers and investors have tried a variety of design and op- erational strategies to make the square peg of arena design fit into the round hole of mixed-use development, typi- cally by making the arena the center- piece of a project, and building the retail, dining and other components around it. This has been met with varying degrees of success. Westgate Entertainment District (formerly Westgate City Center) in Glendale, Arizona, is an ambitious and groundbreaking arena-centric, mixed-use destination that opened in 2006. Westgate has achieved some high-profile successes, but has also struggled at times with commercial viability. Fast forward to 2017, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the NFL's Green Bay Packers have refined and per- fected that concept, with the new Titletown District, a sports-anchored development adjacent to the team's Lambeau Field. Titletown, which of- ficially opened this fall, encompasses approximately 45 acres and is packed (no pun intended) with activities, amenities and unique experiences. From playgrounds to sports fields, and from games (such as ping pong, shuffleboard, bocce ball and bean bag toss) to a wide range of dining op- tions, Titletown was conceived as a place where fans, area residents and visitors will always have a reason to come and spend time. The project even features areas for sledding and ice skating — well suited for Wiscon- sin winter weekends. Noteworthy tenants include Hin- terland Brewery and Restaurant, 46 Below Bistro, the Lodge Kohler Hotel and a Bellin Health sports medicine clinic. The second phase of the project will feature residential components — including approximately 80 town- houses and an apartment building — as well as additional retail, dining and entertainment options. In recent years, the evolution of large-scale entertainment venues has moved in some exciting new direc- tions. Architects and developers have become more innovative and more so- phisticated, and have turned their at- tention to the arenas themselves. In East Lansing, Michigan State University is in the middle of a com- prehensive $50 million renovation to the Breslin Center. The project, which opened in fall 2017, radically trans- formed the arena experience, with an aesthetic and functional overhaul that includes concourses that are 15 feet wider, additional restrooms and new floor and wall finishes. Most in- triguing is the addition of the Hall of History and Gilbert Pavilion, with new interactive historical displays and Spartan storytelling exhibits pre- sented with new LED graphics and videos. These concepts — the integration of technology, user-centric design ideals and expanded and engaging commu- nity spaces — are filtering into more and more new arenas and renova- tions. Inverted bowl leans in Perhaps the most radical and excit- ing new arena design concept inte- grates all of those elements, packaged into a ground-up reimagining of the fundamental tenets of arena design: the inverted bowl by Rossetti Inc. A proprietary concept developed over the course of more than seven years of development and testing, the inverted bowl fuses arena excite- ment with the immersive qualities of an intimate setting, changing the way attendees engage with live entertain- ment. Instead of sloping away, the invert- ed bowl leans in, with revolutionary balcony seating that catapults view- ers closer to the action for broadcast- quality views that are as much as 50 percent closer than traditional arenas. In the process, not only are the worst seats in the house transformed into the best viewing areas, but the ramifi- cations for the rest of the structure are profound. Formerly single-use concourses can feature diverse programming that ani- mates the venues and promotes social interaction and engagement. New opportunities for fan touchpoints in- clude engaging social spaces with tech integration, diverse entertainment (such as permanent and versatile mul- timedia), as well as more creative din- ing options. From a development perspective, the inverted bowl confers real ben- efits. With 22 percent less steel ton- nage, construction costs are reduced, and the comparative ease of con- structability leads to shorter build times. And unlike traditional arena concepts, the inverted bowl is specifi- cally designed to integrate into urban environments. With a footprint that is 18 percent smaller than average, it can fit within city block units — and the porous pe- rimeters allow for programmed spac- es and retail and dining integration into the surrounding civic environ- ment while simultaneously boosting revenue-generating opportunities. Designed to hold between 16,500 and 19,000 seats, the concept is also in line with the shifting trend toward smaller arenas that can better fit into compact urban environments. Rev- enue projections are 20 to 30 percent higher than what traditional arenas generate due to dramatically lower operational costs. The result is both an experiential and a commercial winner — a triumph for fans, developers and owners. It is a bold signal that, when it comes to in- novative and immersive arena design and mixed-use concepts, the best may be yet to come. Matt Rossetti is president of Rossetti Inc. and creator of the inverted bowl. The sports and entertainment architecture firm has designed notable projects such as Arthur Ashe Stadium, Daytona International Speedway, Ford Field and the UCLA Health Training Facility/Home of the LA Lakers. Matt Rossetti Rossetti Inc. Instead of sloping away, the inverted bowl leans in, with balcony seating that enables viewers to be as much as 50 percent closer to the stadium action. The typically worst seats in the house are transformed into some of the best viewing areas.

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