Venue News: Quebec City Arena Approved; Orioles Unveil Camden Yards Renovations

Quebec City will have its new arena, now all it needs is a hockey team to occupy it. Quebecor and the city can now justifiably tell the NHL that a new building is definitely on the way – it will have 18,000 seats, it will be situated on the site of a harness racing track near downtown, and construction will begin in mid-September. Given that the city has already approved about $7-million in emergency renovations for the decrepit Colisée, the former home of the Nordiques, there is mounting excitement among hockey fans in the city. On Sunday, Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume and Quebecor head Pierre Karl Péladeau put pen to paper on a contract that formalizes a tentative deal reached just over a year ago that will see the media conglomerate take over the management of a $400-million multi-use arena in 2015…

…In celebration of the Baltimore Orioles’ 20th anniversary at Camden Yards, the ballpark will be renovated prior to Opening Day. The short porch in right field has been made a little bit shorter to make it easier for fans to see the field —with four feet of the 25-foot wall replaced by railing— and the picnic area behind center field is being transformed into a more accessible gathering place that includes a new bar and a seating section atop the batter’s eye wall. There also will be new concessions, new flooring and wall coverings throughout the main concourse, a new restaurant, and a canopy added to the B&O Warehouse. The centerpieces of the center field renovation — statues of the Orioles’ six Hall of Famers — will be unveiled on six special dates over the course of the season. The construction-related upgrades were funded with $1.8 million from the Maryland Stadium Authority’s Supplemental Improvements Fund. The statues and a lot more was paid for by the Orioles…

…The Vikings stadium bill, stalled for nearly two weeks at the Capitol, got a new push Monday when Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said he’d lined up a city council majority in support of the $975 million plan to rebuild on the site of the Metrodome. Opposition on the Minneapolis City Council had been a major stumbling block for stadium supporters, and Rybak’s announcement threw the issue back into the lap of state legislators who have been reluctant to embrace it. A Senate committee tabled the bill earlier this month when it appeared on the verge of getting voted down, but a key House committee chairman said Monday that he hoped to give the bill its first House hearing before the week is out…

…The Amway Arena in Orlando was the stage for its own final act early Sunday as 600 pounds of explosives turned the stadium into a pile of dust. Known as the “O-Rena,” the former home of the Orlando Magic opened 23 years ago and heard the last cheers at 7:30 a.m. The 367,000-square-foot Amway Arena was first called the Orlando Arena when it opened in January 1989. The area was the host for the NBA Finals in 1995, which the Magic lost to the Houston Rockets, and 2009, where the Magic lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. The city of Orlando plans to covert the area into what it calls a Creative Village, a 68-acre development to advance high-tech companies. The Magic now play in the Amway Center, which opened in September 2010.