In April, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band drew the curtain on the first music performance at CFG Bank Arena – Baltimore’s newest entertainment destination. The first of many big acts slated to appear at this large-scale venue in 2023, the show officially opened the newly renovated 422,000-square-foot arena.
A buzzer-beater finish
The privately funded renovation project, developed by Oak View Group (OVG), a global venue development, advisory, and investment company, faced a tight timeline and firm completion date, as the venue was slated to host the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball in February 2023. All deadlines on the ambitious timeline were met to increase seating capacity from roughly 10,000 to more than 13,000 and accommodate modern touring demands for artists and audiences, alike.
The project's biggest lift involved removing the permanent stage on the arena floor. Most modern touring acts bring their own staging and can load, unload, and reload in less than 24 hours to allow for quick movement between stops. The permanent stage was a deterrent to modern touring groups – coming to Baltimore slowed them down. The new setup allows acts to enter the space quicker and more efficiently.
Without a home professional basketball or hockey team, the arena can also host more concerts than other “A-list” cities where sports teams dominate the calendar. The arena expects to host up to 60 concerts for over a million people annually – double the pre-renovation capacity.
The charm city district
The 60-year-old arena will now anchor Baltimore’s west side and be a catalyst for the city’s economic growth. It will bring life to the community, along with hopes of driving additional investment, through the beginnings of a lively arts and entertainment district.
By attracting A-list talent and increasing the number of events at the venue, industries beyond entertainment will benefit from the reimagined venue in the heart of the city. The tourism, hospitality, and restaurant industries will find this under-filled market reached. Further, the upgrades were funded at no cost to the taxpayers of Baltimore “Charm” City. The project is a win for taxpayers and businesses, alike.
Throughout the project, fostering meaningful connections and opportunities with local businesses was a priority for Clark and OVG. In planning and design conversations, small, local, and diverse business participation was a top priority. With more than 40 Baltimore companies participating, the project’s delivery served as a boon to the local economy. Among the many Baltimore-based companies enlisted on the project was Seymore Welding, a graduate of Clark’s Strategic Partnership Program. The company was responsible for performing remedial work on the building façade’s steel support – a unique opportunity to contribute to the historical significance of their city.
The project created more than 500 construction jobs and awarded 27% of construction subcontracts to minority businesses and 10% to women’s business enterprises. Because of the efforts of minority business enterprise (MBE) companies, Clark was able to successfully ready the facility for the CIAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
With more than 40 Baltimore companies participating, the project’s delivery served as a boon to the local economy.
With CFG Bank Arena restored back to its glory days, it serves as a cornerstone of the city’s downtown – built by Baltimore companies for the Baltimore community.