Timbers build new foundation
Preliminary construction work has begun on the new east stand at Providence Park, home to Portland's soccer teams the Timbers, Thorns and T2.
Crews working under Turner Construction began tearing up the sidewalk two days after the Timbers season abruptly ended with a home loss to the Houston Dynamo.
During the off season from now until early April, the contractors are laying the foundations for the 6,500-seater stand. Certain other changes happening this winter include removing the team store.
Timbers President of Business Mike Golub told the Business Tribune that the work will last for the next several months. Fans will see some routing and fencing on the concourse, during the season, but nothing on game days.
"During the season we'll be working in increments, and building the first floor of three in June."
Then in a year's time at the end of the 2018 season, the roof of the Key Bank stand will be removed and construction upwards will begin apace. The schedule calls for the stand to be completed in time for the 2019 season's preseason tournament, a couple of weeks before MLS gets back in business.
"One of the things about the design is it's truly complimentary to the existing seats. None are affected (in 2018)."
Beneath the Key Bank seats right now is what he calls back-of-the-house stuff and storage. The new stands will have nothing fan-friendly underneath it — however, each of the four decks will be self-contained, so that fans can hit the concessions and the bathrooms at half time on their own level, without crowding the ground floor.
The upper levels will cantilever over the public sidewalk on 18th Avenue creating what Golub calls "an arcade experience."
The new stand will provide a 4,000-seat net gain to Providence Park, which currently holds 21,144.
Allied Works Architecture, known more for their museums than their stadia, scored the coveted job. Allied Works is based just blocks from the stadium, and staffers and Timbers ownership (Peregrine Sports LLC) are tight. The 88-year-old stadium will scrap its five-year-old Key Bank stand and replace it with a 4,000-seat, three-level structure. The stand is designed with four levels of seats that rise steeply, since the MAX line prevents the stadium from expanding more than a few feet east onto Southwest 18th Avenue.
The stadium's new capacity will be over 25,000. The Timbers have a 13,000 waiting list for season tickets. It's quality rather than quantity, however: the new stand will have more club seating and group seating, which bring in more money that regular seats.
The architects say the new stand is inspired by venues from "La Bombonera" (the Chocolate Box) in Buenos Aires, Argentina to London's original Globe Theater.
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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