Newark Breaks Ground for Devils Arena
Newark, NJ - Oct. 03, 2005 - Newark’s long-awaited dream of building a downtown sports arena became reality today, when Mayor Sharpe James and Jeff Vanderbeek, New Jersey Devils Chairman and Managing Partner broke ground for the 17,500-seat facility at an 11 a.m. ceremony.
“This is a great day for the City of Newark,” said James. “We are starting to construct the goal of our dreams – the creation of a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena that will be the central power that spreads prosperity into every neighborhood and home in our city. We are putting Newark on the world stage, and it will be the world’s star performer.”
“Today’s events represent several years of hard work from many quality individuals on behalf of the city of Newark, as well as the New Jersey Devils,” said Vanderbeek. “It is through their dreams and determination that today’s events are made possible. The state of New Jersey, the city of Newark, as well as Devils’ fans deserve a first-class facility. We look forward to the arena being the focal point of the downtown redevelopment.”
The project architect is Kansas City-based HOK Sport+Venue+ Entertainment, a renowned leader in the field of sports facility design and construction. The exterior of the building was designed by Morris Adjmi Architects of New York City, and is based on the rich history of Newark – the nation’s third-oldest city. Newark’s El Taller Colaborativo is the project’s associate architect.
The ceremony focused on the arena’s commitment to Newark’s youth, which includes construction of a recreational center on the site that will host Newark youngsters. The Malcolm X Shabazz High School brass band and the East Side High School hockey team took part in the ceremony.
Featured in the arena are a 4,800 square-foot exterior LED screen, the latest in ice-surface technology, and a gourmet restaurant overlooking the ice. There will be 150 points of sale, 750 television monitors, 35 turnstiles, 12 escalators, eight elevators, seven truck docks, and 78 suites. The building will contain 850,000 square feet of space, 9,000 tons of steel, eight million pounds of structural steel, and 25,000 cubic yards of concrete. Eighty-thousand cubic yards of dirt were moved during the site-preparation phase.
The Newark Housing Authority, under Executive Director Harold Lucas, will oversee the project. Lucas, who has also served as city Business Administrator and Federal Undersecretary of Public and Indian Housing in the Clinton administration, won national acclaim for his overhaul of the city’s public housing stock, turning it from “worst to first” in the United States.
“The arena is not the beginning or end of our Downtown Core Redevelopment Project,” James said. “We are seeding an economic tree that will branch out to every neighborhood and ward in our city, bringing jobs and prosperity to every resident and business in our city.”