Stockton Arena Delayed

The opening of the Stockton Arena will be delayed until at least Thanksgiving, although city officials say it will open before the January date proposed by construction company Swinerton Builders.

The 10,500-seat arena was originally contracted to open October 3rd, but Swinerton recently informed the California city that construction is behind schedule, with an unusually rainy year being pinned as the main cause.

Connie Cochran, information officer for the City of Stockton, told Pollstar the contract does provide for extensions due to rain delays and that the city is “sitting down” with Swinerton to determine how many days were affected.

“When we looked at this year, with 170 percent of normal rainfall, we knew we’d have some days that we would have to attribute to rain for the construction process, but not anything that would push it out until after the first of the year,” Cochran said.

At press time, the two sides had not reached an agreement, but Cochran said the city expects the arena to open around Thanksgiving.

“Essentially, that allows the sports teams to fulfill their commitments to their ticket holders and us to fulfill our commitment to the sports teams. And we’ve got great weather and plenty of time to make up any days that were missed … so it’s looking good,” she said.

The arena is set to be the home of the East Coast Hockey League’s Stockton Thunder as well as an arena football team and an indoor soccer team. International Facilities Group (IFG), which has been hired to operate the arena, owns the hockey and arena football teams and venue developer Regent Development owns the soccer club.

The $75 million arena is part of a larger $126 million development which constitutes the largest publicly funded downtown redevelopment project in the state, IFG’s Tim Higgins told Pollstar. Higgins, the arena’s associate GM, said the company plans to book 120 dates per year at the arena, including 15 to 20 major concerts.

The city is examining other options, including utilizing an industrial warehouse at the Port of Stockton, in the event that the arena is not finished in time.

“We’re making contingency plans,” Cochran said, “but we still feel that we are going to have the arena to play in.”

The hockey and soccer teams are planning to play their first few games on the road in case their home isn’t ready.

Niilo Smeds