There’s been quite a bit of news surrounding the downtown arena lately. The most exciting, we think, it the eye candy. The Louisville Arena Authority released the video rendering above detailing all the nooks and crannies of the new 22,000 seat arena. Drive down the Second Street Bridge, fly through the Main Street plaza (which was described as the largest of any arena built in the U.S.), and stroll through the new bars and restaurant inside. Check out the fancy suites most of us will never see and watch the basketball court transform into an indoor football and soccer field and concert venue. It’s all covered in the new video (sometimes twice), and is an epic clocking in at around 13 minutes.
The more serious mayhem involves another lawsuit and cost overruns. Schnell Contractors is suing the Arena Authority, construction manager M.A. Mortenson, and a government agency for damages and lost profits due to unfair contract awards. They allege Kentucky state procurement procedures for public projects wasn’t followed. In the end, though, it’s going to be the taxpayers footing the bill. A whistle-blower policy has been put in place to keep the project honest.
Foundation problems caused by “unforeseen subsurface conditions” have also forced the Authority to dip into its $11 million contingency fund. Everyone knew there would be all sorts of urban and historic detritus on the block. Massive tunnels from the old substation and power plant had to be straddled and capped. Many railroad parts apparently surfaced along with massive boulders and other 19th century remnants. The foundation plan had to be altered to avoid these obstacles at a cost of about $4.8 million. Foundation piles originally designed to bore 75 feet into the ground failed and had to be redesigned to push 80 to 87 feet deep and more than 80 additional piles were added for extra support.
Back to the good news. The “green” prospects of the arena were made clear with a new partnership with the EPA’s Energy Star program aimed at reducing the structure’s carbon footprint. The program aims to “save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.” This is good news for the continued greening of Louisville’s architecture.
Meanwhile, construction continues on the most entertaining construction project in town. The sheer number of workers and size of the project is pretty amazing; it’s estimated that about 250 workers are currently on site each day. We’ve taken advantage of the warm weather to go stare at the construction site from the Second Street Bridge, and posted 17 of our favorite photos below. Crews continue working on the 760 space parking garage on the south end of the site and a forest of columns continues to rise on the north. A concrete slab/forest canopy is ready to be poured on the northwest corner. Progress in said to be on schedule and the majority of exterior construction will be complete early next year when crews will focus on finishing the interior. We wonder how long it’s going to take to install 22,000 red plastic chairs?
- Louisville Arena Authority (Official Site)
- More Broken Sidewalk coverage of all the Arena Mayhem right over here.