PPL Center

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PPL Center
PPL Center.png
PPL Center at night
Location Corner of Hamilton and 7th St, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18102
Coordinates 40°36′9″N 75°28′22″W / 40.60250°N 75.47278°W / 40.60250; -75.47278Coordinates: 40°36′9″N 75°28′22″W / 40.60250°N 75.47278°W / 40.60250; -75.47278
Owner City of Allentown
Operator Global Spectrum[1]
Capacity 8,578 (Hockey)
10,500 (Concerts)[2]
unknown (Football)
unknown (Basketball)
Surface Multi-surface
Construction
Broke ground January 3, 2012 (site demolition)[3]
November 29, 2012 (official)[4]
Opened September 10, 2014[9]
Construction cost $177 million[5] (Estimated)
Architect Sink Combs Dethlefs
Elkus Manfredi Architects
Project manager Hammes Company Sports Development, Inc.
Structural engineer Martin/Martin, Inc.[6]
Services engineer H. T. Lyons, Inc.[7]
General contractor Alvin H. Butz Jr.[8]
Tenants
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (2014-future)
Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (2015-future)

PPL Center is a sports arena in Allentown, Pennsylvania that opened on September 10, 2014. Its naming rights are owned by the PPL Corporation, which is headquartered in Allentown. PPL paid an undisclosed sum over ten years.[10]

Overview[edit]

The arena is part of a larger redevelopment project of the central business district of Allentown. The project encompasses a 5-acre square square block area, in which several new structures are planned to be erected:[10] Part of the arena site was previously developed in the 1990s as an office building called Corporate Plaza; shortly after opening, on February 23, 1994, it collapsed into a sinkhole, due to limestone in the ground and the decision not place the building on a concrete pad, but rather on spread footings; the plaza was imploded on March 19 of that year.[11] Inside the arena will be a new ground-floor studio that will house WFMZ-TV's news operation.

Competition on building sites[edit]

Construction of the PPL Center in September 2013.

Rebuilding an arena on the site of the Spectrum in Philadelphia was rejected in favor of the more profitable Xfinity Live! project and a new 180 Reniassance by Marriott room hotel. The competition to build a new arena for the Phantoms in 2008 was primarily between Allentown and Camden, New Jersey.[12] While Camden was closer, Allentown had a more elaborate proposal which helped secure Allentown's bid for the team.[citation needed]

Plans to build the PPL Center at the corner of 7th and Hamilton Streets in downtown Allentown were announced in late 2009. For much of 2009 and 2010, the focus of the project was on securing funding. The project took a major leap forward when in 2011, several properties were purchased by the city to help clear the way for the project to begin. By the end of January 2012, all of the properties had been purchased with final demolition of all buildings occurring in early February 2012.

Parking[edit]

On May 31, 2011 a comprehensive parking analysis conducted by Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. (TPD) was submitted to Allentown Economic Development Corporation. The conclusion that was reached is that the total number of parking spaces within the study area, between the public and private parking garages and surface lots consist of approximately 7,376 parking spaces. As a result of this parking analysis, the existing public and private parking facilities and proposed construction of an additional 500 parking spaces to be built with this development, will adequately accommodate the highest peak period parking demands of the proposed Allentown Arena and mixed-used development.[13] In comparison Coca-Cola Park in the East side has 2,500 parking spots available.[14]

Traffic[edit]

Also on May 31, 2011 a comprehensive traffic analysis conducted by Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. (TPD) was submitted to Allentown Economic Development Corporation. Based upon this Traffic Analysis, it is TPD's opinion that the existing roadway infrastructure can accommodate the new traffic generated by the proposed development. Conditions will be further improved with the recommended improvements.[15]

Controversy[edit]

Some concern about the PPL Center is centered on the cost of the arena relative to the cost of other dedicated American Hockey League arenas in the country. Nathan Benefield, the director of Public Analysis for The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Alternatives, a Pennsylvania free-market think tank which opposes public funding of stadiums, believes that the PPL Center benefited from funding a plan with no cap on public money beyond the annual revenue generated by the zone.[16] As of October 2012 $224.3 million in bonds have been sold.[10][17][18]

Concerts and Other Events[edit]

Date Event Notes
September 12, 2014 Eagles Part of the History of the Eagles Tour
September 16, 2014 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Steve Winwood
September 26, 2014 Rascal Flatts with Kellie Pickler & Danielle Bradbery Part of the Rewind Tour
September 27, 2014 Philadelphia Flyers vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms First hockey game. Billed as the "Battle on Hamilton"
October 1, 2014 Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs Hershey Bears First Preseason game
October 3, 2014 Harlem Globetrotters
October 4, 2014 Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs Albany Devils Second Preseason Game
October 5, 2014 WWE House Show
October 10-11, 2014 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series
October 15, 2014 Judas Priest Part of the Redeemer of Souls Tour
October 17, 2014 Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs Adirondack Flames First regular season game
October 18, 2014 Philadelphia 76ers vs Orlando Magic Preseason game. First 76ers game in Allentown since October 2, 1974
November 14, 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball: Lehigh vs Villanova PPL Center inaugural NCAA basketball game
December 2, 2014 Cher with Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Postponed from September 15th due to Cher having a viral illness, Part of the Dressed To Kill Tour
December 20, 2014 NCAA men's basketball: Drexel vs Penn State

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McEvoy, Colin (January 30, 2014). "Allentown Hockey Arena Operator Announced as Construction Progresses". The Express-Times (Easton). Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Public Invited to PPL Center Open House & Arts Park Celebration". WFMZ (Allentown). August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ McEvoy, Colin (January 3, 2012). "As Allentown Hockey Arena Demolition Begins, New Business Announces Office Opening". The Express-Times (Easton). Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Kraus, Scott; Assad, Matt (November 29, 2012). "Phantoms, Allentown Formally Launch Arena Construction". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ Kraus, Scott (September 27, 2013). "In Allentown, Raising High the Arena Roof Beams". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ "High Concrete Group Producing Precast Concrete for Parking Garage of New Arena in Allentown, Pa" (Press release). High Concrete Group. April 28, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Engineering Firms". Lehigh Valley Business. October 7, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ Lash, Devin (April 4, 2012). "Allentown Zoners Approve Butz's $10M Expansion Downtown". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ Kraus, Scott; Assad, Matt (September 10, 2014). "Arena Opens, Symbol of Hope for a Better Allentown". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c McEvoy, Colin (February 21, 2013). "Allentown Hockey Arena Will Be Named PPL Center". The Express-Times (Easton). Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ [1], WFMZ-TV.
  12. ^ Blockus, Gary R. (September 6, 2008). "Faceoff for Minor League Hockey Team?". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Parking Analysis". City of Allentown. May 31, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ "A to Z Guide". Lehigh Valley IronPigs. November 22, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Master Plan Traffic Analysis". City of Allentown. May 31, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  16. ^ Kraus, Scott; Assad, Matt (February 4, 2012). "Allentown Hockey Arena Costs Adding Up". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ Kraus, Scott (July 11, 2012). "Arena on Track to Rise in Fall With Pennsylvania Steel". The Morning Call (Allentown). Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  18. ^ Panepinto, Peter (October 2, 2012). "Allentown Completes Bond Sales, Receives Funding for Hockey Arena Project". The Express-Times (Easton). Retrieved October 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]