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 Post subject: Downtown Arena
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:51 pm
Posts: 2
Please move if this is not the correct place.

Long time lurker, first time posting.

Folks, it's time for a small downtown arena. I know this has been mentioned here before, but I'll give my reasons for why I think it is necessary,

We have two anchor tenants:

Hockey is back with the Carolina Thunderbirds. The team is second in the FPHL in attendance, averaging 2,700 spectators per game at the Annex (per FPHL official website). During the 2019-2020 season they finished second in attendance averaging 2,831 fans. If the team was playing downtown, I think it is safe to say they would crush that average. FWIW, the team in Binghamton leads attendance right at 3,500 fans. That would be very doable, imo. For comparison, the Dash average about 4,500 fans per game.

Winston-Salem was named a top 10 minor league market according to Sports Business Journal

https://www.milb.com/news/sports-busine ... -310778394

The other tenant would be Winston-Salem State Basketball. The team averages over 2,000 fans per game and regularly sells out their 2,750 seat arena and have played games at the Annex. The President (Maybe AD) mentioned a few years ago the desire for an 8-9k seat arena.

A new downtown arena would also help bring in other events such as major concerts and conventions. We all know about the awful deal that the LJVM has with the GSO Complex. We need to have our own large indoor venue for events so we can move on.

Something between 5-9k would be the perfect size, imo.

What do y'all think?


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 Post subject: Re: Downtown Arena
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2021 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:10 am
Posts: 2053
Of course, love the idea and F&M has proposed this several times. I'd push for a 12-15 k arena for possible expansion stuff. Good idea for the Thunderbirds to move downtown. And, one wonders about the W-S Wolves minor league basketball apparently still playing in Lewisville. One wonders if they could draw more downtown. And, one must wonder what WFU is thinking since their coliseum would not get anything unless it's rejected by the Greensboro Coliseum.


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 Post subject: Re: Downtown Arena
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2021 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 659
When I lived in WS the second time in 1999, I went to one of the meetings when the group spearheaded by Rence Callahan was trying to draw up support for a MLS team and stadium in Winston-Salem. I have always thought a stadium or arena was perfect for the area north of MLK Boulevard along North Liberty Street, and would help to revitalize that area. I think the school board just voted to buy the old Thomasville factory for the replacement Brunson Elementary School.


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 Post subject: Re: Downtown Arena
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 12:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2021 5:07 pm
Posts: 201
I co-sign. It’s time.


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 Post subject: Re: Downtown Arena
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 10:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:59 pm
Posts: 3925
This is something I've long wanted to see! A 3,000 seat arena that can host high school and college sports, concerts, and minor league hockey, so we can bring the Thunderbirds downtown. An arena of that size would have one or two solid anchors (two if WSSU basketball agreed to join the effort). I think WSSU basketball would also benefit from being downtown, if the arena is in a good location. Imagine if you could watch college basketball games in downtown! Tickets to the Thunderbirds and Rams would become impulse buys. They would also be more attractive entertainment options with places to walk to before and after the game. It would be important to have a free shuttle for students, if the location isn't within walking distance of campus. I think the Dash run a shuttle for baseball fans? This could bring more students to downtown!

At 3,000 seats, it's a reasonable size to fill. It can also provide a concert venue that is a step above the Ramkat, for bigger shows. One big parking deck can provide enough parking and it's possible (with apartments, condominiums, and hotels nearby) that a good number of people will walk. The right design could create more seating for concerts or speakers in a smaller arena. A smaller arena is also more affordable and easier to book, so it can be easily paid-off.

Of course the question is: Where do you locate it? I've also long wanted Winston-Salem to land bank a big site or two in downtown for a transformational project. Something like a 10,000 seat amphitheatre or a central park or even a 3,000 seat arena. We are losing good sites that could be used for a transformational project. I guess the best possible sites could be Second Street at Brookstown Avenue, which would create a downtown arena district and bring more crowds to that part of downtown. Unlike a baseball stadium, a small arena can book shows and even conventions year-round. Main Street at Fifth Street makes a return, as a good location near bars, restaurants, and hotels. Could you imagine a big statue of Earl the Pearl Monroe at the Fifth and Main entrance and Big House Gaines, too! I'm guessing Industry Hill missed-out on a big anchor when a good-sized part of the 10th Street at Patterson Avenue site was sold for a school and a church? Both the school and church are good though, helping to create a neighborhood with every-day amenities, so that isn't bad for them. Northwest Boulevard at Trade Street is a little separated and may require relocations? Connections to a future rail trail would be interesting. There is also Marshall Street at Seventh Street? The roads could be moved to create any size site you want for an arena there, however Marshall Street is highway-like and discourages any walking. It would create an easy way in and out for crowds, but a smaller arena's benefit is smaller crowds (similar to those that may gather for average weekend events downtown). How would storm water (underground pipes and capacity) issues impact an arena at Fifth Street and Research Parkway ...and would the Innovation Quarter be open to closing part of Research Parkway or relocating it? If there are no issues, you could build a sizable arena there with abundant shared parking and easy highway access. Also easier access to WSSU.

I'm imaging this being a $50-60 million project, depending on the accepted level of value engineering. The State may view a 50/50 cost sharing, with the City, favorably in agreeing to provide half of the cost? If the State (UNC System) owns half of it, the Rams may want first pick of all available dates, similar to the deal Wake Forest and the City had with the LJVM. Naming rights can be sold to this new arena and it's interesting to see companies interested in having their name on Winston-Salem sports venues and downtown structures now. Any new parking structures can be shared parking, since most sports and concerts/events are at night.


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