The Baltimore Arena is getting a $200 million facelift. Now he has a new name. – Baltimore Sun
The downtown Baltimore arena has a new name: CFG Bank Arena.
The city-owned facility held an unveiling ceremony Monday afternoon attended by city officials and a few celebrities. The downtown arena has undergone several name changes over its 60-year history and was most recently known as Royal Farms Arena and then Baltimore Arena. Pricing for the naming rights was not disclosed at Monday’s unveiling.
The aging establishment closed earlier this year for $200 million in renovations and is expected to reopen early next year. The new CFG Bank Arena will be host the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournaments in February and recently announced upcoming performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and blink-182, whose original lineup reunited this year.
“God bless Bruce Springsteen for adding this date as a favor because he believes in this building and in this city,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, the California-based investment firm that oversees the renovation after winning a bid from the city. Last year. “It will work, guys. It’s not an “I think it might work”. It’s going to work.
In exchange for the $200 million renovation, Oak View Group will lease the 15,000-capacity arena from the city of Baltimore for the next 30 years. The arena is older than the current iteration of Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968 and is the nation’s oldest NBA arena.
Speaking from a podium in the arena lobby, Leiweke hinted at the arena’s name ahead of the official unveiling.
“It’s pretty obvious,” Leiweke said. “The guy from CFG is sitting in the front row.”
This guy CFG Bank CEO Bill Wiedel said he initially thought there was a 5% chance the CFG Bank name would end up on the renovated arena, but he’s proud to have the bank name on the downtown arena.
“The CFG Bank Arena reinforces our commitment to Baltimore and our leadership position not only in the banking industry, but in the Baltimore business community,” Wiedel said.
The evening sun
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The Baltimore-based bank has its roots in The Corona Building and Loan Association, founded in Highlandtown in 1927. The bank, which has branches in Fells Point and Lutherville-Timonium, was purchased in 2009 by businessman Jack Dwyer, which also owns Capital Funding Group. It is the 7th largest bank in the Baltimore area with $2.7 billion in deposits.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, who was introduced by former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, spoke about some of the artists who performed in the arena, including the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Prince.
“This arena is a major player in the renaissance taking place in Charm City,” Scott said. “And I’m not just excited about the new name, I’m excited about what’s to come in the new named arena here in Baltimore.”
Basketball star and Maryland native Kevin Durant has invested in the project through his company Thirty Five Ventures as well as Pharrell Williams, a Grammy Award-winning musician who attended Monday’s unveiling.
“It’s going to change things,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of energy here now. There’s a lot of business here. Now, there are a lot of opportunities today, but you wait to see what will happen in the next three or four years. This will change things.
At a groundbreaking ceremony in June, Leiweke said Oak View Group would pay the city $1.75 million a year, and that amount would increase with inflation.
According to financial details presented to the city’s Board of Estimates last year, Baltimore will refund all city taxes generated in excess of this annual payment, thereby capping the taxes paid by Oak View Group. If the arena achieves a certain level of profitability, Oak View Group will be required to pay a quarter of all “arena’s distributable cash” to the city, a so-called “reverse owner” agreement.