Where will I park? Won't it be too congested downtown? Is that really the best location for such a venue?
Before the city throws an approximately $300 million project on our ballots in the fall (or spring), the officials really need to begin to address the issues that the voting, and paying, public are going to have with the project.
Anytime a project is proposed anywhere in this city, the first question that arises is always, "Will there be enough parking?" It's like a knee jerk reaction - or a violent, unnecessary heave if you will. What people don't know is the cost associated with the ability to have a parking spot for each and every individuals pretty little automobile or big-ass, over sized, under-used, impeccable truck. A single space in a parking garage will run in the realm of $15,000 dollars per space. I won't defend my number but I will say this is a decent average number. That's a lot of money for space that will sit empty most of the time. Let's say the center had an event every night, the space would still sit empty for 20 hours a day. Add that price tag to the potential revenue lost by not developing that parking garage into inhabited space, whether that be office, residential or retail, and you're talking major dollars to subsidize something that could be making money for the entire city.
Between the Convention Center, Civic Plaza, the new garage on 2nd and the Acropolis on 3rd and Copper, you've got over 2,000 spaces and each within two blocks of the arena. Add in the street parking in the vicinity and the lot on the east side of the tracks, we're probably near 4,000 spaces. 4,000 cars with 4 people per car gives you a full arena, 16,000 people. Take some of those people and put them on trains and busses or even, (hold your breath for this one), walking and biking, and you can see that there is hardly a need for a whole lot of parking.
"But what about the congestion?" Seeing as downtown already handles 25,000 employees daily with ease, events at the center should be a walk in the park. Don't get me wrong, it's like as "convenient" as walking two acres of parking spaces like at your local Wal-Mart, but it's still hardly an issue.
Regarding the arenas exterior design, I've found my favorite rendering; this one for a new arena in Seattle as they scratch and claw to keep their Sonics.
On the interior, I'm fairly sure we'll see the U-shape configuration that allows for future expansion without a need for extra land. As you can see in the photo of Omaha's Quest Center, one end of the arena has only a lower bowl seating area.
I've got my fingers crossed that we'll see some renderings come out of Garfield Traub in the near future. I don't have solid information regarding the architect involved with the selected team but I'm assuming HOK is involved. I've also heard rumors that Bart Prince might be involved as well. I'll always take Tony Predock, too.