Tampa Bay Lightning announces $35 million in renovations to the St. Pete Times Forum
At one point in his presentation announcing at least $35 million in renovations to the St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment CEO Tod Leiweke said, "This building needs help. It hasn't been properly maintained." What is planned, most of which will be done, Leiweke said, by next season but will all be done by the time the Republican convention is in town in August 2012, is a massive makeover.
While Leiweke acknowledged TBSE has had discussions with the county about reimbursement through the tourist tax, he said the team and owner Jeff Vinik are prepared to finance the renovations. Leiweke did have a message to the county, though: "When and if the tourism tax returns, help us safeguard this investment into the future."
The renovations include:
A rebuilt "grand" entrance on the plaza.
Elimination of eight of 28 lower suites, two in each corner, so that fans ion the concourse can see down onto the ice.
Renovating every suite.
Eliminating two entire sections (323 and 324, totaling 574 seats) for the construction of a bar and stage area that will be home to the new pipe organ.
Adding an 11,000 square-foot outdoor deck and party area with a stage that overlooks the plaza.
A new air conditioning and heating system inside the arena.
New lighting inside the arena.
All seats replaced; all seats will be padded.
More concessions areas on the terrace level.
Combining Icons and Medallions restaurants into one venue.
Finally, Leiweke said the renovations will not spark ticket increases.
"This is not a ploy to achieve a double-digit price increase," he said, and added, "At the end of the day, this arena is going to have a great sense of space."