Talking Stick Resort Arena has been home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns since it opened in 1992. (Courtesy Talking Stick Resort Arena)

Firms will design and build $230 million in upgrades

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns have selected HOK and Okland to design and build $230 million in upgrades to Talking Stick Resort Arena, sources familiar with the decision said.

In an email, Ralph Marchetta, the Suns’ senior vice president of ticket operations and general manager for sports and entertainment services, would not confirm the selections.

“We have not entered into a contract and closed procurement yet,” Marchetta said.

The agreements with HOK and Okland are separate contracts. Okland will serve as construction manager at risk, sources said. The general contractor filled a similar role for the $125 million renovation to Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz.

HOK most recently designed $183 million in improvements to State Farm Arena, where the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks play. The makeover has drawn praise for refreshing a 20-year building that previously had all premium seats on one side of the facility.

In Phoenix, the Suns plan extensive improvements for one of the NBA’s oldest arenas. The original America West Arena opened June 6, 1992, with a George Strait concert. In 2004, the Suns completed a $70 million renovation that included an indoor pavilion, a kids zone, outdoor patio and beer garden and an expanded team store.

Among other features, the new project revolves around new seats, ADA upgrades and entrances to the seating bowl ($15 million); expanded lower and upper concourses ($15 million); revamped suites across two levels ($11.5 million); and technology and security improvements ($19 million), according to a document issued in January by the city of Phoenix, which owns the arena.

About $100 million in project costs are tied to mechanical, electrical, plumbing and communication systems, the document stated. Construction starts this year and will be completed in 2021.

Under the deal to fund the renovations, the city of Phoenix will pay $150 million and the Suns will pay $80 million. As part of the agreement, the team will extend its lease for 15 years through 2037.

The Suns are the latest NBA team to overhaul its 1990s-era arena at a cost of more than $200 million. In Philadelphia, Comcast Spectacor is privately funding a $250 million makeover of Wells Fargo Center. Most recently, the Indiana Pacers announced $300 million in improvements to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, to be designed by Populous. Other arenas, such as Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, have undergone renovations costing more than $150 million.