Ground broken for Ontario arena

Ground broken for Ontario arena

A new era has begun for Inland Southern California as ground was broken this week for the area’s first major-league caliber sports/entertainment arena. Located just west of Ontario Mills near the junction of I-10 and I-15, Citizens Business Bank Arena will rise on one of the last remaining parcels of the former Ontario Motor Speedway.

2007 - Exterior depiction (Rossetti)

As the centerpiece for the planned Piemonte at Ontario Center, the arena — with a capacity of 11,000, including 36 luxury suites — will be owned by the city of Ontario and managed by Los Angeles-based AEG, whom also operate the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The deal with AEG guarantees a minimum 120 events per year, many of which AEG says will be acts it also books for Staples. Also on tap is a minor-league hockey and/or basketball franchise (farm teams from both the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings have been mentioned as likely tenants).

“This is going to create an atmosphere of entertainment that the Inland Empire has been craving for a long time,” (Ontario Mayor Paul) Leon told a crowd of invited guests gathered at the site.

… “It’s going to do so much not just for Ontario, but for the entire region,” (Ontario Councilman Alan) Wapner said.

Daily Bulletin

… “With southern California as AEG’s headquarters, we are clearly aware of the demographics and the necessity for a state of the art sports and entertainment arena in Ontario and the Inland Empire,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG.

AEG press release

2007 - Interior depiction (Rossetti)

Coupled with the area’s continuing population growth and fast-rising demographics, the long-awaited arena for Inland Southern California reaffirms the region’s growing prosperity and maturity within Greater Los Angeles. Considering a local population base of 4 million, our only real complaint is that it has taken this long for such a venue to be built. No doubt the pent-up demand for major entertainment options locally will make the arena successful, likely to the surprise — and chagrin — of some LA naysayers.

The grand opening for the $130 milion, 225,000 square foot arena is expected in October 2008. Could a major-league franchise be far behind?

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