Renderings Revealed for Royal Farms Arena Renovations

| December 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

Today, Oak View Group (OVG) and its design team unveiled renderings of its $150-plus million renovation plan for the Royal Farms Arena to the Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design & Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP). OVG along with its equity investor Thirty Five Ventures hope to begin renovations on the City-owned arena on February 28th after the completion of the CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments.

Architect Murray Beynon of Brisbin Brook Beynon said this project is “most synonymous” with OVG’s renovation of the The Forum in Los Angeles which is the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers. 

OVG needs to have the renovation completed by the start of the CIAA Tournament on February 20th of 2023, but aims to have it completed by February 1st, 2023.

The renovation plans show new suites; a new party area; renovated concourses with new concessions, bars, and terraces overlooking Downtown northbound; “theatre boxes” at the front of the upper deck; new suites; and, a pushed-back stage to allow more lower-level seating.

Beynon said there are relatively empty mechanical areas in the arena that can be turned into suites and flex areas.

The exterior design shows new signage, new LED screens, a sail design structure, working the existing glass into the design, and the terraces. In the design, the billboards are removed from the upper level of the exterior, and the facade is painted and uplit with different colors.

The sails are an homage to the waterfront and sailing history of Baltimore.

On the Howard St. side of the building, renderings show new mural and lighting at the street level.

OVG is also proposing removing a street that services the arena adjacent to Hopkins Plaza (the street) and creating a new event plaza with a cafe. Event staff would be able to drive onto the plaza to prepare and break down an event.

OVG envisions festivals that would close down Hopkins Plaza.

No public funds will used for this project.

UDAAP panelists were critical of the exterior design and hoped to see more attention paid to Howard St.

The Royal Farms Arena was constructed in 1961. It was previously the home to the Baltimore Bullets, Baltimore Blast, Baltimore Skipjacks, and additional indoor football and lacrosse teams. It has taken on different names including the Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore Arena, and 1st Mariner Arena.

The current arena has a capacity of 14,000 for concerts and up to 12,289 for basketball, hockey, or soccer. It lacks the size or modern amenities to be the home of an NBA or NHL team, and it has not hosted the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1995.

A representative for the BDC said the proposal would increase the capacity 10 to 15 percent. This would bring basketball attendance to 13,517 to 14,132 for basketball, hockey, and soccer. This would make Royal Farms Arena large enough for NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s first and second round games, but not large enough to make it the home of an NBA or NHL team.

Current conditions (slides from Brisbin Brook Beynon)

Exterior renderings presented at UDAAP from Brisbin Brook Beynon

Alternative design without sails 

Current conditions pictures and interior renderings presented presented at UDAAP from Brisbin Brook Beynon

Plaza renderings presented at UDAAP  from Intreegue Design

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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