The Bridgestone Arena's blank walls are bracing for what should be an eye-catching facelift, improvements meant to activate the facility's SoBro streets.
As seen in the images below, which Metro just released, arena patrons can expect a plaza — though much smaller — similar to what essentially works as Bridgestone’s "front porch" facing Broadway and Fifth Avenue South. (Read more about the project here.)
Mayor Karl Dean's mid-year capital budget includes $7 million for improvements to the arena's south entrance that fronts Demonbreun Street and its east side facing Fifth.
The improvements are the first step in "reprogramming" a largely underutilized section of the building. Metro and Nashville Predators’ officials anticipate "light retail" — either in merchandising or food and beverage — will operate along Demonbreun, plus some larger retail or restaurant options likely on Fifth Avenue. An activated arena will create a better connection between the Music City Center campus and the existing entertainment district on Broadway.
Sean Henry, Nashville Predators' chief operating officer and president, said the revamping of the Demonbreun entrance — which handles about 5 to 6 percent of arena visitors — is needed because more foot traffic will be directed to the south side of the building once the MCC convention facility and its 1,800 parking spaces come online in May.
Populous (formerly HOK Sport) crafted the renderings. Of note, Populous and Hart Freeland Roberts designed the multi-purpose entertainment venue, which opened in 1996.