The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks are celebrating the completion of an extensive $192.5 million renovation to State Farm Arena (formerly Philips Arena). HOK’s design honors the city’s culture, embraces Southern hospitality and elevates the venue experience.
The 17,000-seat, nearly 20-year-old venue hosts approximately 170 events each year, making it one of the most-programmed in the nation. The renovation introduces innovative premium seating options, local restaurant concepts and state-of-the-art technology.
“HOK blew us away with an initial pitch full of original ideas about seating and socializing. Less than 30 months later, we opened the doors to a renovated arena that exemplifies renovation as innovation,” said Thad Sheely, Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena chief operating officer. “State Farm Arena combines live entertainment and the social experience to set a new benchmark for venues in the South and across the country.”
“This is more of a transformation than a renovation,” said Emily Louchart, senior interior designer for HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice. “The arena is one of the city’s most valuable assets and the design is true to Atlanta in every aspect—from the concept behind the renovation to the materials, details and textures incorporated throughout. It is a next-generation venue that solidifies Atlanta’s position as one of the world’s great entertainment destinations.”
Atlanta is a “city of neighborhoods.” The BeltLine is an ambitious urban redevelopment project that is connecting the city’s diverse neighborhoods through a 22-mile loop of trails and parks. Inspired by the BeltLine, the arena’s 360-degree concourses have been redesigned to serve as active hubs linking diverse new seating neighborhoods featuring local partnerships with Zac Brown’s Social Club, Killer Mike’s SWAG Shop (a four-chair barbershop with views of the court) and Giovanni DiPalma’s Little Italia collection of restaurants.
The design removed an existing wall of suites that had spanned four levels on the arena’s west side, repurposing this space as viewing terraces, multilevel connections, Veranda Suites, Loft Suites, Topgolf Swing Suites (complete with golf simulators) and the high-energy, 18,000-sq.-ft. Atlanta Social suite experience. The renovation also includes the NBA’s first courtside bar.
From these unique seating concepts to a completely reimagined food and beverage experience, the arena creates experiences that appeal to all. The addition of a food hall market, new team shops and upgraded concourses reflect Atlanta’s diversity and unique food culture. The fan-friendly, elevated approach to concessions included hiring Executive Chef Joe Schafer from Bacchanalia, one of the city’s four-star restaurants, and emphasizing local cuisine. Concession kitchens are designed to operate like restaurants. Atlanta craftsmanship is on full display throughout the arena, with warm wood detailing reminiscent of a concert hall, hospitality-inspired finishes, intricate tile work, and eclectic materials and textures.
The inclusivity that is so important to Atlanta’s culture inspired HOK’s design. To help achieve the Hawks’ goal of tearing down walls and creating a more social, connected arena experience, a truss spanning 173 feet and supporting a 1 million-pound roof load was built and installed in just eight weeks.
Integrated technology includes a new, 4,477-sq.-ft. center-hung scoreboard that immerses fans in the action, HD screens throughout the arena and 400 new network access points for ultrafast internet service.
The design and construction of the phased arena renovation was completed in just over a year. The grand opening celebration will take place on October 24 with the Atlanta Hawks’ first regular season home game.