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Atlanta Hawks reach agreement with the city on a $192.5 million renovation of Philips Arena

Tony Ressler Kasim Reed

Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler and Mayor Kasim Reed announcing deal to renovate Philips Arena last November (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and majority Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler were all smiles Tuesday when they announced that they had reached a $192.5 million deal to revamp Philips Arena.

The 30-year agreement would keep the “Hawks in downtown Atlanta for decades to come,” Reed said at the press conference in his Ceremonial Office at City Hall.

Tony Ressler Kasim Reed

Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler and Mayor Kasim Reed announcing deal to renovate Philips Arena (Photo by Maria Saporta)

The $192.5 million deal includes $142.5 million from the City of Atlanta, but Reed gave assurances that no new taxes would be going towards the renovation of the arena.

Most of the city’s contribution will come from the extension of the car rental tax, which Reed estimated will total $110 million. Then the city will allocate $12.5 million from the sale of Turner Field to dramatic renovation of Philips Arena. The remaining $20 million will come from the city selling off “smaller parcels that are excess municipal inventory,” Reed said.

The Atlanta Hawks and Ressler will be contributing $50 million to the project.

“We will bring down the four-stacked (levels of) suites,” Reed said, describing one of the unusual features of Philips Arena where all the luxury suites are on one side of the arena. “We are actually going to have suites that wrap the bowl of Philips Arena.”

Ressler said his goal was to continue “a winning tradition for the next 30 years.” Construction work will begin after the Hawks season ends in the spring of 2017, and then it will be put on hold so the Hawks can play for the 2017-2018 season. When that season is over, construction on the arena will resume.

“We will stay planning at the arena while we’re doing the renovation,” Ressler said.

Steve Koonin, president of the Atlanta Hawks who joked that the Hawks season would end after the NBA finals, said the construction would be completed in time for the 50th season of the Hawks moving to Atlanta.

Koonin said his aspiration would be for the “reimagined arena” to add new life to the area – in a similar way that the Atlanta BeltLine has to the central city. “It’s connectivity, inclusiveness and it’s about fun,” Koonin said. adding that his goal would be for everybody to feel welcome.  “We will always have great ticket prices.”

Rendering of new Philips Arena

Rendering of how the revamped Philips Arena will look in the fall of 2018 (Special: Atlanta Hawks)

Philips Arena

Rendering of the transformed Philips Arena – how it will look in the fall of 2018 (Special: Atlanta Hawks)

Philips Arena

The Philips Arena announcement included several players for the Atlanta Hawks as well as City Council members and other people involved in the deal (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. Chad Carlson November 1, 2016 7:27 pm

    Meanwhile, our crumbling city streets are full of potholes and the buildings at Morris Brown College, which we the taxpayers own, are being left to rot. This city’s priorities are screwed up. We should not be subsidizing celebrity and sports franchise multi millionaires and billionaires.Report

  2. Akazia J Hunt November 2, 2016 1:59 am

    U0001f612U0001f612U0001f612 Too bad public education isn’t worth investing in. Of course education is not viewed as generating tangible profits.Report

  3. Chad Carlson November 2, 2016 12:50 pm

    Pay very close attention to the mayoral candidates in the photo op; you can expect the city will be run in a similar manner if these people are elected.Report


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