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Saturday, 10 October, 2009 2:33 AM

New Lucas County Arena opens for business in downtown Toledo

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look inside the lobby of the new Lucas County Arena in downtown Toledo.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

(Quicktime Video)

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Lucas County Arena is a brand-new sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Toledo. The $105 million project took two years to build from the ground up. It features over 8,000 seats inside, 750 prestige club seats, 20 private seats, a club-level lounge, a banquet facility and a team merchandise store. It is the new home of the Toledo Walleye ECHL hockey team and the Toledo Bullfrogs arena football team. There are already over 80 events scheduled at the venue so far.

The new arena features a 900-square foot "green wall" outside the building for plants on the exterior of the building and to help cool the arena by shading the glass-enclosed main entrance. The light-colored roof membrane reflects sunlight and underground cisterns collect rain water for re-use on landscaping purposes.

"It's been a long process, it started over six years ago with the Toledo City Council," said Steve Miller, general manager of the Lucas County Arena. "Lucas County took over the project with Pete Gerken moved from the city council to the commissioner's office. He's been the political power behind getting this done."

A two-percent increase to the hotel and motel tax paid for the construction of the building.

"The hard construction costs are about $85 million," the general manager said. "The total construction cost was $105 million, figure in architect fees, construction manager fees, land acquisition fees. There was some sweet revenue that's being dedicated to pay debt service. The remainder of it is being bonded and guaranteed by Lucas County."

There will be many concerts and other special events playing at the Lucas County Arena in addition to Walleye hockey and Bullfrogs football.

"We're going to have all different kinds of shows," Miller said. "Family shows, concerts, sporting events. It's going to be the home of the Toledo Walleye, who play in the East Coast Hockey League. We're going to open up this weekend with Jeff Dunham. We've got So You Think You Can Dance, WWE Wrestling, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Daughtry, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Ringling Bros. Circus and many others."

The new arena holds about 7,500 seats for hockey and 8,000 seats for concerts or family shows. A public open house was held on October 3 and 4 when Toledo residents were offered the opportunity to tour the new facility.

"The open house was great," the general manager said. "We had over 15,000 people come through over two days. Had an entertainment event on Saturday and hosted the Toledo Walleye training camp on Sunday. It was an overwhelming success."

Many area businesses should see a boost in profits from the opening of the new arena.

"We're really excited about that," Miller said. "There's going to be a lot of new restaurants opening up downtown. We've actually had two open in the last six months. With the Fifth Third Ballpark of the Toledo Mudhens and the SeaGate Center and the Lucas County Arena, we're going to have about 1.3 million people coming to downtown Toledo. Hopefully, that's going to spur more business opportunity."

The roads around the Lucas County Arena are being converted from one-way to two-way.

"That's in the process," the general manager said. "We're going to switch all the roads around the arena to two-way to make it easier for people to come down, find a place to park. They don't have to navigate the one-way streets any longer."

The Lucas County Arena may attract metro Detroit residents if there is a popular show playing at the new venue.

"Detroit's an hour away, it's not very far," Miller said. "I think we got a small, intimate building. If the right show fits, instead of going into some of the larger facilities Detroit has, I think the Lucas County Arena could be that place."

The naming rights for the Lucas County Arena are currently up for sale.

"We're in the process of talking with some various companies," the general manager said. "We're in negotiations with some. We're very hopeful that's something's going to happen very soon."

Upcoming events at the Lucas County Arena include WWE Raw Live on Oct. 11, a concert by Daughtry on Oct. 31, two performances by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Nov. 8, The Ringling Bros. Circus from Nov. 11 through 15 and two performances by the Harlem Globetrotters on Dec. 29. The Lynyrd Skynrd concert scheduled for Oct. 15 was canceled due to "scheduling issues."

"I think people are going to have a lot of fun here," Miller added. "You've got padded seats, a 20 by 30 video board, we got 600 feet of ribbon boards, a great club level lounge, easy to get in and out of the building. It's just going to be a great experience when people come down and visit."

Click here to visit the official website of the Lucas County Arena.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look at the ice rink at the new Lucas County Arena.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A zamboni gets the ice ready for the first Toledo Walleye hockey game.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Toledo Walleye logo above the seats.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Hockey sticks inside the Toledo Walleye's locker room.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look inside the Toledo Walleye's locker room.

 

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