|DNC gets keys to Time Warner Cable Arena|
|Construction under way for convention|
|Published Monday, July 16, 2012 1:58 pm|
The transformation of Time Warner Cable Arena into the Democratic National Committee’s convention home is underway.
|PHOTO/PAUL WILLIAMS III|
|Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (second from left) and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigoso share a lagugh during the ceremonial move-in for the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena. The facility’s modification will cost organizers $7 million.|
A ceremonial key exchange on Monday marked the DNC’s takeover of the facility for the Sept. 4-6 convention. As many as 200 workers will remake the arena into a convention hall where 5,500 delegates and twice as many media members will assemble.
“Receiving the keys to the Time Warner Cable Arena means the countdown is officially on toward the2012 Democratic National Convention,” convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said. “We still have a lot of work to do between now and September, but we have a great arena to work with, fantastic local partners and an experienced and talented construction and architect team.”
Charlotte-based Neighborhood Concepts, founded by former Mecklenburg County commissioner Darrell Williams, is on the architectural team. The $7 million process of transforming the arena into a meeting hall is one of his company’s most ambitious projects.
“We’re embarking on a type of project we’ve never done before, but we’re teamed up with a global firm in Populous out of Denver that has done this several times,” Williams said. “They’ve done several Olympics and they did the 2008 (Democratic) convention in Denver, so we’ve learned a lot and it’s a great opportunity. It’s a once in a lifetime type of project to work on and we’re very fortunate to have that opportunity here in Charlotte.”
Neighborhood Concepts, which was selected through the DNC’s vendor program, is responsible for turning the NBA Charlotte Bobcats’ home into a top-flight convention hall and returning it to its original configuration.
“We’re trying to minimize spending dollars that are not necessary,” Williams said. “The arena wasn’t designed for a convention like this – it’s a sports arena – so there are some things that need to change such as the suites where different media will be located. We’ll be converting some of the suites, but most of it is temporary. For the most part, a lot of the arena is going to be left the way it is because we’ve got to come back and put it back the way it is right now.”
Los Angeles Mayor and convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa said the convention signals the campaign’s stretch drive to November. Voters who may not have paid much attention to the primaries or the campaign grind through the summer will become more engaged around Labor Day.
“Most of the rest of the rest of the American people they’re focused on putting food on their table, getting their kids to soccer games, doing what people do every day,” he said. “It’s an opportunity with the convention to launch the campaign, it’s an opportunity for us to bring the campaign to so many eyeballs and it’s a time when people are going to be focusing on the election all the way through November.”
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