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Oak View Group breaks ground on $280M Hamilton arena project, kicking off downtown revitalization project
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Home / News / Oak View Group breaks ground on $280M Hamilton arena project, kicking off downtown revitalization project

Oak View Group breaks ground on $280M Hamilton arena project, kicking off downtown revitalization project

Hamilton is one giant step closer to enhancing its reputation as a premier destination for entertainment and sports.

Oak View Group (OVG) officially broke ground on the highly anticipated $280 million renovation of FirstOntario Centre on Thursday (June 17, 2024).

The ceremony at the arena site on York Boulevard marks the first major step in a comprehensive plan to revitalize Hamilton’s downtown entertainment precinct. The project promises to transform the aging arena into a state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat venue capable of hosting world-class events. Renovations will include premium seating, clubs, lounges and suites, enhanced acoustics to amplify the listening experience, next-generation touchless and self-serve technologies for food & beverage purchases to minimize transaction times and upgraded concourses and concession areas. Additional upgrades to the venue’s back of house include specially designed artist lounges, upgraded production facilities, electrical and lighting upgrades, and updates to the arena’s telecommunications infrastructure, wireless network, and video, network, and security systems.

“We’ve been a long-standing partner of the City of Hamilton through our management of the arena, generating considerable momentum to where we are today and are now positioned to deliver to the people of Hamilton a truly world-class, live entertainment facility,” said Tim Leiweke, Chairman & CEO of Oak View Group. “Upon completing this truly transformative investment, the Hamilton Arena will generate substantial economic velocity and serve as a catalyst to the downtown core via hosting premier touring acts, family shows, and all types of sporting events. We’re investors in this market for the long haul and are thrilled at the prospect of replicating the success of our other owned & operated facilities in Hamilton as this is what we do; we are facility owners and operators every day focused on driving event volume and activity for the City and its people. We have great partners helping us bring this project fully to life and are already looking and planning ahead to the Arena’s re-opening.”

Live Nation joins OVG as a booking partner committed to bringing concerts and other live events to Hamilton.

“This is a new era for the City of Hamilton that reflects the vibrancy and resilience of the community,” said Riley O’Connor, Chairman of Live Nation Canada. “Live Nation has a rich history with the city and its passionate live music fans, and we look forward to bringing more world-class talent to this incredible entertainment destination.”

The project is expected to generate significant economic benefits for the city, creating jobs and attracting visitors across the region. The renovated arena is projected to host over 125 events annually, further boosting Hamilton’s reputation as a vibrant cultural destination.

“I am thrilled the groundbreaking for the massive re-development of our downtown Hamilton Arena has arrived,” said Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath. “This investment by international entertainment leader OVG in our city and downtown core will put Hamilton firmly on the map as a world-class sports and entertainment destination, spurring job creation, economic revitalization and attracting new visitors to our great city.”

The redevelopment of FirstOntario Centre is a significant investment in Hamilton’s future and part of a bigger plan to bolster the entertainment precinct in the city’s downtown core. The Commons initiative, led by Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group Consortium (HUPEG), aims to redefine the city’s cultural footprint by revitalizing FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall, the Hamilton Convention Centre, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

Portrait of Michael Marini

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