The ADA boardwalk is one of several new, accessible amenities added to Hawk Ridge Park. The 320-ft boardwalk allows residents access over the water and to fish for channel catfish, bass, blue gill, crappie and trout. Photo courtesy: City of Raymore
In a nod to what is being called the “next generation consumer,” Kansas City-based Populous is teaming up with Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies to build Fusion Arena, a $50 million esports and entertainment venue in the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex.
“Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market,” said Populous Senior Principal Brian Mirakian. “We’re taking our 36 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports- settings like Yankee Stadium- and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”
The future home to the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise will have seating for up to 3,500 guests and will serve as the “western hemisphere’s largest ground-up, purpose-built esports venue,” according to a release.
Earlier this month, Mirakian spoke at SXSW and discussed how esports venues can bring cities and sports teams new revenue streams, increased commerce and development and reinvigorated neighborhoods.
The rise of esports development and design was a big topic for panelists at MetroWire Media’s Game On event covering sports and entertainment development and design on March 7.
“Esports is exploding as more universities starting to offer scholarships,” said James Dietz of Henderson Engineers, which served as the low-voltage engineering firm of record for the Esports Arlington Stadium. “These facilities require high connectivity and people are starting to look at a specific sport and turn it into more of a fan experience for video gamers out there.”
Overland Park-based Dimensional Innovations also is seeing more opportunity in esports, particularly on college campuses. “We are working on two university gaming/training facilities, so there is definitely a strong trend in that marketplace,” added DI co-founder Justin Wood.
Populous’ Philadelphia venue will incorporate industrial materials that pay tribute to that city’s heritage as “workshop of the world” and will include a 6,000-square foot public entry and 2000 square feet of interactive media hovering 30 feet above.
In addition to hosting competitive gaming events and elite training, the arena will be designed to host a variety of live entertainment programming and experiences, offering unique seating experiences such as balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites. Additionally, nearly 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio and team offices.
“Fusion Arena will set the gold standard for competitive gaming and debut on one of the country’s most exciting platforms of sports and entertainment...” said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies, which also served as master developer of the Kansas City Power & Light District.
The Kansas City region's internationally acclaimed sports construction and AEC industry was the topic of MetroWire Media's Game On Sports and Entertainment Event on Thurs., March 7 at Children's Mercy Park.
Here are some highlights from our star-studded lineup:
"The conversations we used to have are so outdated, it's amazing. Every year the conversation changes... The stuff that Silicon Valley is developing now will hit the sports industry in a couple years and it will blow your mind." -Andy Heitmann, VP Construction, Turner Construction.
"We're all technology firms. We just don't know it yet... Technology is impacting everything we do... From security to fan engagement, it's driving the fan and athlete experience." -James Dietz, AVP, Henderson Engineers.
“We have spent a lot of time developing sponsorship integrations that create great fan experiences. The idea is that venues and teams have opportunities within the built environment to tell stories using sponsor dollars as opposed to team’s dollars.” -Justin Wood, Partner, Dimensional Innovations
"The most important thing we can do is to create adaptable frameworks for buildings... 5G is on the way and that will transform the experience." -Kelly Holton, senior designer, Populous
"Engaging people with the live experience is our focus and challenge." -Jeff Sittner, Burns & McDonnell Sports Design Build team leader
"How do we take what we know about the fans and deliver what they want? It begins with knowing who is in the building." -Jason Houseworth, President, FanThreeSixty.
Special thanks to Sporting KC Executive Vice President John Moncke for serving as guest speaker and to our Platinum Sponsor, Turner Construction.
The Excelsior Springs Community Center is a $15 million project that has received industry attention for its successful adaptation of a former school site with various elevations and challenges.
“This is something the community had been calling for for 25 or more years. There was a huge need in the community for this facility, so we felt we had a really awesome opportunity to make a huge impact,” said Kerry Newman, principal of SFS Architecture.
One of the project’s challenges included building the facility on a site with a significant slope. A significant amount of earth work wasn’t feasible, according to SFS Associate Brian Garvey, so the design team came up with a concept that included a central ramp "spine" linking various spaces within the campus.
“The ramp links the spaces together and makes it more likely (for guests) to take the ramp and sometimes unknowingly get a little more exercise,” Garvey said.
The project also required public input and voter approval.
“I think was a huge challenge early on that there needed to be consensus to pass the tax that funded the center,” Newman said. “Merging that with business planning to make sure it would work financially for city... all those things had to be legitimized going into the referendum and the community had to believe in the work.”
The Excelsior Springs Community Center had a goal of 1,000 members in the first year, but membership blew past that in the first few months.
“It’s been very successful and a big economic impact to the community," Newman said. "Just delivering everything the community needed and maximizing the value of everything that would be there by making it exciting and multigenerational, with diverse user groups, and then bringing all those things together on an existing school campus.... I think it was a challenge and we succeeded.”
Brittany Probst, facility supervisor, said the center is changing lives for its more than 2,000 members.
“There is a fitness aspect of it which is what people associate with a community center, but there’s also a social aspect to it,” Probst said. “Families who (previously) went home and watched TV all night, and that was their social time together, now they’re coming here and swimming as a family or playing pickle ball and basketball as a family, so it’s gratifying to hear every time someone says, ‘This facility has changed my life,’ because that’s why we are here.”
Project partners include: City of Excelsior Springs, developer; SFS Architecture, architecture services; Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, architecture services; Crossland Construction, general contractor; Water Technology, Inc., engineering services; Henderson Engineers, engineering services; GBA, engineering services; SK Design Group, engineering services; Confluence, landscape architecture, Ballard*King & Associates, consulting services.