Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden, is the primary indoor sports arena in Portland, Oregon, United States. It is used for basketball, ice hockey, rodeos, circuses, conventions, ice shows, concerts, and dramatic productions. The arena has a capacity of 19,393 spectators when configured for basketball. It is equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and other amenities. The arena is owned by Vulcan Inc., a holding company owned by the estate of Paul Allen, and is currently managed by Anschutz Entertainment Group and AEG Live. The primary tenant is the Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchise, also owned by Allen’s estate. The other major tenant of the building today is the major junior hockey franchise Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, which splits its schedule with the Memorial Coliseum next door. In addition to the Blazers and Winterhawks, several other professional sports franchises, and the Portland State University men’s basketball team, either currently play home games in Moda Center, or have done so in the past. In addition, Moda Center is a popular venue for concerts and other artistic productions. Construction began in 1993, and the arena opened on October 12, 1995. The arena cost US$262 million to build; construction was financed with funds obtained by a variety of sources, including the City of Portland, Allen’s personal fortune, and $155 million in bonds issued by a consortium of mutual funds and insurance companies. These bonds would become the subject of an acrimonious 2004 bankruptcy in which the Oregon Arena Corporation, the holding company which owned the arena at the time, would forfeit title to the arena in lieu of repaying the bonds per the payment terms. Allen would later repurchase the arena from the creditors in 2007.
In the early 1980s, as the National Basketball Association increased in popularity, it became apparent that the 12,888-seat Memorial Coliseum, which was the home of the Portland Trail Blazers at the time, was no longer an adequate NBA facility. The Trail Blazers had sold out every home game since April 5, 1977. In 1988, the team was purchased by Paul Allen and made appearances in the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. Allen soon expressed a desire to build a new arena for his team, and in 1991 chartered the Oregon Arena Corporation, a private corporation with Allen as the sole shareholder, to build and operate a new facility. The team soon made an agreement with the City of Portland to build a new multi-purpose arena on the Coliseum’s parking lot. A major factor in the choice of the site for the new arena was its close proximity to transit, with MAX Light Rail and bus service at TriMet’s Coliseum Transit Center (later renamed Rose Quarter Transit Center) being adjacent to the site. Ground on the arena was broken in 1993, and the arena opened on October 12, 1995. The project included the largest construction and demolition recycling program in the U.S. up to that time, in which 32,700 tonnes (32,200 long tons; 36,000 short tons) of construction waste and 308,400 tonnes (303,500 long tons; 340,000 short tons) of dirt were recycled, saving OAC over $127,000. This effort later won the project an environmental award from the city.
Moda Center is a precast concrete-framed structure with a roof made up of skeletal steel. The arena structure encloses a total of over 785,000 square feet (72,900 m2), on eight levels, five of which are open to the public. The building height is 140 feet (43 m), from the event floor to the pinnacle of the saddle-shaped roof. The arena includes a 60-by-40-foot (18 m × 12 m) permanent stage, and a 200-by-85-foot (61 m × 26 m) ice rink. The building is composed of over 48,000 cubic yards (37,000 m3) of concrete and over 9,700 short tons (8,800 t) of steel. The exterior is composed of over 29,000 square feet (2,700 m2) of glass, 17,500 square feet (1,630 m2) of plaster, 52,000 square feet (4,800 m2) of architectural precast, 39,000 square feet (3,600 m2) of insulation, and 13,654 square feet (1,268.5 m2) of steel louvers. The building, designed by architecture firm Ellerbe Becket, has been criticized by some in Portland’s architectural community. A survey of local architects and planners was conducted by the Portland Tribune, and subsequently, Moda Center was listed among the five ugliest buildings in the city. The arena has a total of over 14,000 permanent seats arranged in two bowls. When configured for basketball, the arena has a capacity of 19,393 and can accommodate a total of up to 20,796 with standing room. When configured for hockey or lacrosse, capacity decreases to 17,544.
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