Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane Arena food court expansion gets underway

Overall, about $1.7 million in improvements on tap

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-—NAC Architecture Inc.
The $1 million food court expansion at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena will more than double the size of dining area. Kevin Twohig, CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District, says the improvements will be the most substantial to the food court since the entertainment venue opened.

The Spokane Public Facilities District has begun upgrading food service areas in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, located at 720 W. Mallon, and expects to complete the work by this fall.

Kevin Twohig, CEO of the facilities district, says the changes are one part of a larger project, as well as a continued effort to upgrade the venue.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of upgrades, including doubling the size of the north food court,” Twohig says of that remodeling effort that began at the end of June.

The $1 million food court expansion is the most expensive of three planned projects. The estimated cost of all the projects is $1.7 million in work, with all of the improvements scheduled for completion by the end of September, Twohig says.

Construction work continues on a $600,000 expansion of the public entrance on the building’s northeast side to improve foot traffic. Metal detectors have been installed at the arena to also improve security. Architectural, electrical, and plumbing improvements are also part of the project, Twohig says.

A third project, a $123,000 remodel of a concession stand in section 213 on the northeast side of the arena, is scheduled to be finished by the end of July, he says. 

For the north food court project, Spokane-based NAC Architecture is the project architect, and Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the general contractor. MW Consulting Engineers PS, also based here, is the project’s engineer.

The north food court will increase in size from 2,000 square feet of space to 4,100 square feet, Twohig says. 

“We’ve made some minor upgrades—a few over the last five years—in our food service areas. But these changes are going to be substantial. This is the biggest upgrade we will have done since the building opened,” Twohig says.

Future customers will have more of a variety of food items to choose from, including Mexican cuisine. Matt Gibson, the arena’s general manager, says the expanded food court also will have a craft burger bar with burgers made fresh daily, and will feature new stands showcasing paninis, Asian wraps, and gas-fired pizza. A craft beer bar also will be established, Gibson says.

All food and beverage services are handled through Centerplate, the facilities district’s contract service provider for the arena and Spokane Convention Center.

Gibson says changes in the eating habits of customers and their socializing during events have been taken into consideration to improve the arena experience. 

He adds, “We want to make the arena a more complete experience and do our part to be a better host to our customers.”

Officials expect to have the revamped food court in place for the Sept. 30 home opener of the Spokane Chiefs hockey team.

Twohig says a minor addition recently was completed in the office of the Spokane Chiefs hockey team, and cosmetic work on a concession stand in section 224 soon will go out for bid to subcontractors.

Within the last year, the PFD has shifted its focus, which mainly in recent years has been centered on projects at the Spokane Convention Center.

The facilities district completed a $50 million, 92,000-square-foot expansion of the convention center at the end of 2014. The arena, Spokane Convention Center, and the INB Performing Arts Center all fall under the purview of the facilities district.

The arena opened to the public in September 1995 and cost about $63 million to build. A $1.5 million project to remodel the arena’s ticket and administrative offices was completed in March 2016.

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