Intuit Dome Headed For Early Completion

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CLIPPERS HOUSE: Inuit Dome is due to open in August, but the new NBA arena will reach substantial completion later in June. (Staff/James Zoltak)

INGLEWOOD, California — Intuit Dome, the new home of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers, will reach substantial completion later this month, ahead of schedule, said Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ president of business operations.

On Monday, Zucker led Los Angeles media on a tour of the $2 billion basketball palace that included a taste of signature food  items that will be available when the building debuts in August.

The first public events are two Bruno Mars concerts, Aug. 15-16.

The tour began across the street in the Kia Forum Club, the famed space of Los Angeles Lakers lore, now a lounge in what’s become a vital concert venue. Kia Forum is owned by the Clippers and Steve Ballmer.

The Clippers teamed with concessionaire Levy to form 310 Provisions, branded after the Los Angeles area code, a joint venture similar to what Levy has done at other sports venues.

Zucker said the arrangement allows the team to have more control of the concessions and premium food and beverage, including pricing, menu items and the purveyors whose products will be sold.

As Zucker and her concessions team displayed some of Intuit Dome’s signature items, she said food and beverage experts the Clippers consulted in the pre-design phase all agreed that an ideal service operation in a brand new arena would have a kitchen at every concession stand.

“That is exactly what we did,” she said, explaining that in clubs, there are two separate cooking locations.

There is also a 14,000-square-foot main kitchen on two levels.

DOME OF THEIR OWN: Los Angeles Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker leads media on a tour of  the Intuit Dome, new home of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers. (Staff/James Zoltak)

The hot dog selected is a meaty all-beef frank that will sell for $8, or $5 for Clippers fan club members.

Other items previewed included a Bavarian soft pretzel selected after chef visits to Austria and Germany; a Detroit-style pizza; sushi rolls, including a spicy soy salt; burgers; a vegan wrap and a boat of crispy churros cut into bite-sized segments and served with a rich caramel dip.

The selection of the arena’s churro was left to the Clippers Chief Technology Officer George Hanna, a known churrophile who came to the Clippers from The Walt Disney Co.

A short mini-bus ride past gleaming SoFi Stadium to the south end of the massive Hollywood Park development revealed a nearly complete Intuit Dome, its main entrance facing Century Boulevard.

Down a ramp flanked by images of key Clippers figures in hard hats — Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Ballmer —  the tour moved through back of house, where last-minute finishing touches are underway,  and into the arena bowl, drawing a few audible gasps at the soft leather seats throughout the bowl and The Wall, a steep seating bank designed to create havoc for visiting teams. DreamSeat is the arena’s seating provider.

Zucker explained that Row 20 in The Wall, which extends from the first row to the upper bowl, is 45 feet closer to the floor than the Clippers’ current home at Arena.

BETTER THAN BASIC: 310 Provisions, the joint venture between Levy and the Clippers, ventured far and wide for the perfect hot dog, pretzel and popcorn for the Intuit Dome. (Staff/James Zoltak)

Intuit Dome boasts wide concourses and concessions stands that are recessed, taking fans inside and out of the corridor, Zucker said.

Among the finishing touches being added is artwork, and Zucker pointed to one wall where the high school basketball jerseys of every team in California will be on display.

A bottomless souvenir cup allows guests to serve themselves soft drinks, striking another blow against friction, Zucker said.

Modeling of the time it takes for fans to grab food and drink and get back to their seats has the wait down to acceptable levels, she said, noting that the ultimate goal is get people what they want as quickly as possible so they don’t miss much action on the court.

Two minutes is the benchmark set by the Clippers to purchase concessions or use the restroom and get back to your seat. Anything over that time frame is too long, under Ballmer’s directive, Zucker said.

The arena also features an 80,000-square-foot plaza and a second basketball court that can be sealed off from the rest of the arena. Both are already being leased, said Becky Colwell, general manager at Kia Forum and vice president of music and events at Intuit Dome.

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