The Portland Trail Blazers announced on Thursday some specifics regarding major improvements that will be made to the Moda Center over the next few years. Blazers president Chris McGowan teased the projects in a meeting with reporters back in February, and the team has now announced full details in a press release.
Trail Blazers and Moda Center President & CEO Chris McGowan has announced the first phases of nearly $16 million in upgrades and new concepts for the Moda Center and Rose Quarter; combined with more development of the team training facilities in Tualatin. When completed, the multi-year makeovers will represent the most sweeping changes in the Rose Quarter since it first opened in 1995; and the largest single investment by Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen in capital improvements for the entire organization.
"What we have in mind for the Moda Center and the Rose Quarter is in direct response to what fans and sponsors have said they'd like to see in a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue," said McGowan. "Our owner Paul Allen has always been supportive of investment in our venues and team facilities. During the upcoming offseason, there will be extensive construction around the Moda Center that will raise the level of what guests can experience on almost any night at the Rose Quarter."
"The initial multi-million dollar upgrades at the team training facility unveiled by General Manager Neil Olshey at the start of this season were the beginning of multiple levels of capital improvements," said Chris Oxley, General Manager of Rose Quarter Operations and the executive overseeing construction projects. "We're now expanding the renovations to include Rose Quarter areas that we believe guests and sponsors will be excited to experience. There are also even more improvements coming to the team training facility in 2015 that will place it among the best in the NBA."
Phase One of the Rose Quarter capital improvements will target refurbishment of 1,800 Club Level Seats inside the Moda Center and the complete renovation of 20 of the arena's 66 private suites. It will take about two years to eventually renovate all Moda Center suites, according to Anthony Jones-DeBerry, Trail Blazers Vice President of Premium Seating. Also among the changes planned for the Suite Level is the construction of never-before-available "Studio Suites," as they will be marketed to potential purchasers.
"Our new approach to Premium Seating will be transformational, but will take time to fully complete," said Jones-DeBerry. "Along with direct feedback from guests, we've also factored in research conducted at other entertainment venues around the country. Our goal is to blend totally new concepts with complete renovations and strategic upgrades to the Moda Center."
"The Studio Suites will offer a unique, more intimate approach to private suite viewing, with seating for four guests and smaller, white linen-covered dining tables," he added. "We will build twelve Studio Suites, and offer food and beverage packages customized for guest capacities that are smaller than our full-size suites."
Two longtime offerings on the Club Level will also change beginning with the 2014-15 season. The all-inclusive Chef's Table that Club Level ticketholders have accessed for many years will be replaced with a multi-option ticket, which includes a $30 credit that guests can use for their preferred method of accessing food, beverages and merchandise in the Moda Center. The prestigious Rose Room will also be upgraded into a private membership-based club catering to guests desiring more business-friendly atmosphere and amenities for a unique dining experience before, during and after games.
"Our arena has lacked a true offering for business-to-business networking and client conversation. The new Rose Room will satisfy that demand with a food and beverage experience only accessible through private membership," said Jones-DeBerry. "For the Club Level, feedback from guests revealed a desire for something different and more flexible than an all-you-can-eat option. We will offer a Club Level ticket that can be designed specifically around how individual guests want to enjoy a Trail Blazers game. It will include access to the new gourmet concessions and popular restaurant brands now operating in the Moda Center; and the ability to purchase merchandise."
Guests seated in the lofty 300 Level of the Moda Center are in for a special treat with the building of a new glass-enclosed bar featuring panoramic views of downtown Portland. The space will be a free-flowing design, which opens toward the 300 Level Concourse for easy access. The addition of the bar truly spreads the arena's upgrades throughout the building, offering something new for every fan.
The list of other Rose Quarter capital improvements also includes:
- Retail kiosks placed on the arena's upper levels for better access to merchandise;
- A plush new suite holders' lounge adjacent to the private suites;
- New, environmentally-friendly landscaping around the Rose Quarter;
- Upgrades to Moda Center Wi-Fi access plus installation of a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) for wireless phones;
- Specialty LED lighting encircling the top of the Moda Center and capable of changing colors in connection with Rose Quarter events;
- Complete redesign of the Trail Blazers basketball court as voted on by fans; and
- Refurbishment of the signature fountain on the south end of the Rose Quarter Commons.
Prior to announcing the capital improvements, the Trail Blazers front office invested in consumer research, analytics and direct conversations with ticketholders that provided useful intelligence for planning purposes. Many recent moves, like the addition of popular Portland restaurant icons to the Moda Center's main level concourse, are linked to feedback from Trail Blazers fans. The just-opened Dr. Jack's restaurant in the Rose Quarter is a further step in the plan to energize the entire complex.
"This process has evolved at a very strategic pace, with specific outcomes driven by our fans," McGowan said. "We began the research more than a year ago to get some early guidance to help shape our thinking. By the time this is finished, we anticipate having an exciting sports and entertainment venue where fans feel they've contributed to its development."
Earlier this month, the Blazers opened "Dr. Jack's," a new restaurant adjacent to the fountain in front of the Moda Center that is open before and after games.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter