SALT LAKE CITY — There are 21 days left.
That's what a clock just inside the employee entrance for Vivint Arena reads, reminding everyone who walks in just how quickly they have to work before turning the project over to the Jazz organization on Sept. 15.
Various media outlets were invited to take a tour through the $125 million renovation project on Thursday to see just how far construction has come since the last tour in late June. The team also wanted to introduce two new aspects to the project.
The most notable one is the construction of a new 14-foot high, 21-foot wide Jazz note statue, which sits on a circular pedestal just outside the arena's new main entrance. The Jazz hope that the LED-illuminated statue will become a meeting-and-photo spot, along the lines of Portland's Rip City sign.
There will also be a new 114-foot by 9-foot digital video board on the main entrance, which will replace the old circular marquee on the corner of 300 West and North Temple.
A few other things we learned during the media tour:
- We knew that fans were able to go up from their seats in the upper bowl to concessions above, but we learned more about how that will happen. There's a huge new escalator, just installed, that takes people from level five (the upper bowl concourse) to level six (the arena's top floor). They had to remove the glass panes from the building and feed the huge escalator through the building horizontally.
- Each of the level six concession corners has three rows of standing sections, with a drink and food rail in front. Those will be sold as general admission tickets for sold-out or big regular season or playoff games and will be available for anyone to use when empty or for smaller games and concerts.
- None of the section portals will have doors. Instead, you'll be able to see into the arena from nearly everywhere in the lower and upper bowl concourses.
- It looks like all of the blue cushioned seats have been installed in the upper bowl, with most of the lower bowl still to go. The seats have black garbage bags on them to protect from dust and debris.
- The ticket and security processes have been reversed. Now, fans will go through security and then be able to scan their own ticket (physically or electronically) through 4-foot-high self-scanning stations just after the entrances. Guest services at each entrance can scan tickets or help fans with any trouble.
- We knew that four corner restaurants (El Chubasco's, Maxwell's, Cubby's and R&R) were going to be arena mainstays, but we also learned about a marquee Hires Big H concession location in the upper bowl.
- There's a new corner suite available for companies to buy on the lower bowl concourse, with a lounge area and 24 seats in the arena. This is below the current suite level but above the new "courtside suites."
- WiFi has been installed throughout the building and will be available for fans to use starting in the preseason.
There's still much to be done. Media wasn't invited to check out level one (where the new locker rooms are being built), level two (the new super-club level) or level four (the renovated suite level) yet. But crews are working from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day to get the project done on time, and certainly for the arena's first event: a Faith Hill and Tim McGraw concert on Sept. 27.