Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Major renovations to begin at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre

First Published:

A new chapter is in store for Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre.

The official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to kick off renovations at the downtown stadium at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Over the next 14 months, work will be done to strip the entire facility down to its core and carry out a $280 million renovation project that is expected to completely transform the arena.

Once complete, the venue will be able to host 18,000 people at a time and be decked out in premium features, including enhanced acoustics, improved sightlines, upgraded concourses, and new artist lounges.

“It’s going to be a great building that Hamilton and the entire region finally deserves after all these years,” said Tom Pistore, president of Oak View Group Canada.

The goal is to open by November 2025, and the venue plans to host over 125 events per year, not including sports.

Pistore says alongside being home to certain sport ventures like Toronto’s National Lacrosse League team, Toronto Rock, the arena will work alongside its partners at Live Nation Canada to keep a steady stream of music flowing through Hamilton.

“This venue will be made for music,” Pistore said. “Being the home for music in a region that’s growing and growing with only one other venue of this size within the area — it’s going to be a great home for a lot of acts to stop and play a great city.”

Ryan Zrenda, one of the company’s vice-presidents, said that the work on the stadium will be more of a transformation than a renovation.

“It’s going to be a completely new building. You’re not going to recognize it when you walk in for the first time,” he said. “It’s going to be a world-class arena, it’ll compare to every new arena coming out right now.”
He adds that he’s confident there will be no delays and that the project will meet its expected opening date.
“It’s a great building. A lot of it’s exposed. We’ve done a lot of investigations. We’re very confident in finalizing our design and proceeding with construction.”

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