Mobile plans multi-faceted venue to replace old Civic Center

The new entertainment district includes multiple entertainment venues

A rendering of the new arena to be built at the site of the Mobile Civic Center.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced plans to tear down the city’s 60-year-old civic center and replace it with a new entertainment district that would support concerts, family shows, sporting events and more.

The new facility will cost approximately $300 million to build and will be financed through cash contributions from the city of Mobile and project partners, as well as sponsorship opportunities and strategic borrowing through the bond market and other funding sources. The strategic financial plan expects the debt incurred for the arena’s construction to be paid down in less than 20 years.

The city of Mobile is partnering with Oak View Group in a multi-year operational agreement that will include the new civic arena, the Mobile Convention Center and the Saenger Theatre. The company owns and operates a wide range of venues globally, including stadiums, arenas, theaters, convention centers and other cultural attractions.

This rendering showcases the new entertainment district.

“Mobilians have been talking about how to address our aging Civic Center for nearly two decades, and we are beyond excited to put this feasible and affordable plan into action,” said Stimpson. “We have partnered with the best in the entertainment industry to help design and operate the most technologically advanced arena in the region.”

The current Civic Center had high maintenance costs with limited capabilities, which led to an operating loss of approximately $18 million over the last decade.

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The new arena will have flexible seating and layout options to accommodate a range of smaller shows or larger events. It also will have retail spaces, VIP clubs, dynamic acoustics and multiple ballrooms to accommodate Mardi Gras balls, according to a release sent out by the Mobile Chamber of Commerce. The arena is also being built to accommodate professional hockey, ice skating performances and other youth, collegiate and professional sporting events.

“In terms of economic development, one of the questions we always get is ‘what kinds of things will my employees be able to do in Mobile?’ As far as quality of life, we are about to have a major upgrade. It will take us a couple of years to get there, but it will be worth it for the future of our city,” said Bradley Byrne, president and CEO of the Mobile Chamber.

As part of the multi-year agreement with Oak View Group, the company plans to improve food and beverage experiences, with menus curated to local brands and flavors, at the Mobile Convention Center and Saenger Theatre.

Demolition is expected to begin in August, with a rough estimate of opening the new arena in time for Mardi Gras in 2027.

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