Construction crews have started the second phase of the $ 450 million Mercedes-Benz Superdome renovation project, which will include a dozen new premium lot-level suites and two-level observation decks at each of the four corners. of the stadium.
The final phase is expected to be completed before the start of the Saints’ 2021-2022 season and will be the most visible result to date of a project that has so far focused on improved outings, commercial kitchens and d other less visible improvements.
The second phase of the $ 450 million Mercedes-Benz Superdome renovation began with the installation of dozens of new…
ASM Global, the company that operates the state-contracted stadium, said work began this week on the $ 47 million second phase despite the stadium’s sharp drop in revenue due to event cancellations and the minimal participation allowed in the Saints’ matches.
The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Board, which oversees the stadium, learned at its monthly meeting Thursday that revenues from the Superdome and Smoothie King Center, which ASM also operates, had fallen by more than 90% in the past 12 years. last months until February compared to the previous year.
Kyle France, chairman of the board of LSED, also known as the Superdome Commission, said there were indications that events would start to return this fall. Still, he noted that the finances of the Superdome and subsequent phases of the renovation project were highly uncertain at this point.
“It all depends on the economy, on mass vaccinations, on how we handle this pandemic and beyond the recovery,” France said.
The first architectural renderings of the planned Mercedes-Benz Superdome renovation were unveiled on Thursday, giving a preview of new, w…
The first phase of the project, estimated to cost $ 100 million, began early last year before the pandemic and has been described as “the enabling phase”. This involved back room work, including the creation of new exits and a large kitchen and dining area in a space formerly used for parking.
The second phase will be immediately visible to fans from this fall.
Doug Thornton, who runs ASM Global in New Orleans, told the meeting that the open spaces in the corners of the stadium at the 200 and 500 levels will make a big improvement in the fan experience.
Each area will be known as Super Vomitory, or “SuperVom,” and will allow unobstructed views of the scoreboard and the pitch, a feature found in other high-level arenas.
“The SuperVoms are the landing zone for what they call the new atria in the northwest and northeast corners of phases three and four,” Thornton said.
In these later phases, the 80,000 square feet of ramps at the Superdome will be removed and replaced with high-speed escalators that will open up to spacious areas with unobstructed views of the grounds.
“It’ll be like Cowboy [the AT&T Stadium in Dallas] and other modern stadiums across the country, ”Thornton said.
Those who wish they could sit on the field and watch the New Orleans Saints play in the Superdome are on the verge of making their dream come true …
Construction on the atria isn’t expected to begin until the Superdome hosts the NCAA Men’s Final Four next spring.
Phase two, which has a difficult construction cost of $ 47 million and other costs bringing it to a total of $ 60 million, was already fully funded before the pandemic affected the stadium’s finances.
But most of the overall project cost of $ 450 million is in the later stages, which could be affected by the recession.
“We are at a point in the process where we are evaluating future phases as we move forward,” Thornton said.
ASM Global is asking the state legislature for emergency funding to fill its current financial gap, up to $ 12.5 million. The state contribution of up to $ 90 million for the renovation project was approved by the legislature in 2019, but Thornton said the timing and scope of subsequent phases of the project will need to be reconsidered in the weeks to come. future.
Under the funding agreement, the Saints have agreed to fund one-third of the costs of the project, or up to about $ 150 million, and the Superdome Commission will fund $ 210 million by issuing bonds. The state would cover the remaining $ 90 million.
France said the funding and scope of the project after the current phase “became more obscure” due to the financial blow to the Superdome finances over the past year.