BostonBruins.com - On Thursday morning, BostonBruins.com and members of the media received an exclusive hard hat tour of the TD Garden's new two-year $70 million renovation project that is underway.
The project includes a complete overhaul of the concourse areas on the Loge and Balcony levels, along with renovated concessions areas and hospitality zones, digital video walls, updated food and beverage concepts, and a new wifi infrastructure.
The renovations also feature a new Boston Bruins ProShop with 6,000 square feet of space, and a comprehensive renovation of the Legends Club restaurant for season ticket holders.
The wifi is powered by Cisco, with 400 antennas set to be installed around the arena. The TD Garden is even exploring adding the antennas in the dasher boards to ensure that the wireless reaches everyone in the building - that would be an industry first. In case you were wondering how they would withstands a check from 'Big Zee,' they were tested during the playoffs.
As we walked around the Garden, it was clear that this is a massive undertaking. Construction currently spans all areas of the arena, with crews hard at work.
As the TD Garden approaches its 20-year anniversary in 2015, these renovations reaffirm the commitment from the Jacobs family in making this a state-of-the-art arena.
"This [arena] was completely privately financed back in '93, '94 and we opened in '95, and this will mark roughly a $100 million in re-investment in the facility within the past three years," said Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs. "So we're obviously very committed to providing the best product possible."
The wifi and concourse areas on Level 4 are set to be ready for the 2014-15 season, with other renovations ongoing. The next phase of the project will include a new TD Garden entrance built on the parking lot site of the old Boston Garden.
"I think the wifi, from the fan experience, every building's been struggling with this, to make sure that you have 17,000-18,000 thousand people who can come in and use their phones," said TD Garden President Amy Latimer, who gave the tour along with Jacobs. "It's a tremendous investment, and to have 400 of those antennas, we should have everybody covered."
There's also a strong emphasis on the renovations reflecting the history of Boston, and its sports and entertainment icons. Several images of Garden greats (like Eddie Shore and Bobby Orr) will be on display around the concourse, along with retired numbers.
"We're trying to incorporate a lot of the history, our Boston icons, our sports icons, and entertainment icons have come through our building," said Jacobs, referencing an image of Eddie Shore painted on the wall nearby.
"We expect to have a lot of those legends all the way around the concourse here so that it is a little bit of a tribute to our history as you come and visit. While we're state-of-the-art, we're of course going to have a lot of Boston accent and a lot of our favorite sports heroes."
While the TD Garden is under construction, the building will continue to host events.
"We just completed a $20 million renovation on Levels 5 and 6, our Premium levels, and when you add in the 70-plus that this will be, the renovation will take us roughly to $100 million in re-investment within the past three years," Jacobs acknowledged. "I like to really think we've brought ourselves back to the industry standard, that all others will measure themselves to, in terms of saying, 'I want to achieve what Boston has.'"
As the home of the Bruins and Celtics, and the host of countless other events and concerts every year, the Garden has become a staple in Boston.
"I think it's the heart and soul," said Latimer. "Having two of the championship teams, having the Celtics and having Bruins play here, we probably have 25-30 major concerts every year, the family shows, the Beanpot, the Hockey East. So I think it's really important that this building reflect the city of Boston. I think coming to the TD Garden is something that people look forward to doing."
"We have such a rich history."
Find out more information about the renovations and view renderings atTDGarden.com.