Orlando’s $480M Arena

The Orlando Magic is in for a real treat when the NBA team moves into its new home in 2010.

At 800,000-square feet, the team’s new digs at the Orlando Magic Arena in Florida are more than twice as big as its current home court, Amway Arena.

Architects say the large size of the event center, which allows for flexibility in transforming the building to fit a variety of different events, is what will keep the building current. Eighteen-year-old Amway Arena, on the other hand, at 367,000 square feet, was considered obsolete almost from the get-go, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"This is the most complex bowl they’ve designed anywhere in the country, and that’s because of the flexibility," Magic Chief Operating Officer Alex Martins said.

Despite the notable size difference, the new arena holds only slightly more seats than Amway – 18,500 compared with 17,282 when configured for an NBA game – but that’s where most of the similarities end.

Amway’s exterior is predominantly concrete but the Orlando Magic Arena includes a 20,000-square-foot, glass-front entryway and a 151-foot glass tower. The arena will rise 15 stories with seven levels and four concourses.

Whereas Amway had only two bowls with a ring of 26 skyboxes, the new arena will have three bowl levels and a row of luxury suites in between each level – 56 total – plus 10 other specialty suites.

HOK Sport made sure to incorporate balconies, a common element in Florida architecture. There’s a 10,000-square-foot balcony at 38 feet above the ground and another smaller deck on the glass tower, 116 feet above the ground with a sky bar, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

There are four restaurants and bars, a public plaza and the team’s practice court that the public can view through a glass wall from the street. There’s also a public parking garage connected to the arena via a raised walkway and more restaurants and retail that the public can enjoy when there are no games or events.

City officials consulted with promoters for touring events. Also, the only college sporting event that’s too big for the venue is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s Final Four.

"We want to make sure it has the elements you need to operate 365 days instead of just 41 days a year," Allen Johnson, the city’s venue director, told the Orlando Sentinel.