Having grown up in Los Angeles I have many fond memories of The Forum, the city's famous sports and entertainment arena. Most of them involve seeing the Lakers and Magic Johnson's "showtime" play basketball, and a few others come from live concerts, such as heavy metal band Iron Maiden, which I saw on my last trip to the historic venue about five years ago.
But over the years, the arena has fallen on hard times, especially since the Los Angeles Lakers and the Kings of hockey left for the nearby Staples Center in 1999. So when I heard the Forum is getting a major $100 million makeover I was excited.
The project, located in the city of Inglewood, next to Downtown LA, is scheduled to complete January 2014. It is being developed by the Madison Square Garden Company of New York, which purchased the arena last year for $23.5 million. The company also owns venues such as Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon and Madison Square Garden (MSG).
The renovation is being led by BBB Architects of Toronto, Canada, which is also working on MSG's current renovation. Officials say the transformation of The Forum will create "the largest and most important indoor performance venue in the country designed with a focus on music and entertainment."
The building's bowl-shaped interior will be updated with flexible seating that can go from 8,000 to 17,500 seats; a state-of-the-art "sky deck" entertainment system will be installed to handle the largest touring concerts, productions and events; and a giant tinted glass wall will separate the new concession area from the arena floor, so visitors can always see the action.
Other new highlights include dressing rooms, exclusive dining space for the talent, and upgrades to the 40,000 sq-ft outdoor terrace with food and beverage amenities.
Because The Forum is so iconic to the LA scene, the facelift will attempt to recapture the venue's original exterior with a new 1960s “California sunset red” paint job with white trim on the columns. When complete the building will be officially renamed The Forum Presented by Chase. As a corporate sponsor on the project, Chase will get naming rights on the exterior and a new exclusive "Chase Lounge” inside.
From 1967 to 1999, the Forum was one of the country's most popular arenas. Besides NBA basketball and NHL hockey, it hosted big name concerts featuring the likes of Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, The Bee Gees and the Eagles. In fact, the Eagles will be the first act to perform at the new Forum, with three shows booked in January. They will be showcasing their popular current tour, "History of the Eagles."