Monday, April 14, 2008

Pepsi Center Tour

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Way back in the summer of 2006 we gave you an overview of the Pepsi Center which was where Denver was proposing the convention should be held. Now that we're getting closer to August we decided to give a more in-depth look at the Pepsi Center.

The Pepsi Center opened in 1999 replacing the 24 year old McNichols Arena which was adjacent to Mile High Stadium on the West side of I-25.

The arena is in the Southwest corner of downtown Denver just off of I-25. A light-rail stop is located just behind the arena. I wouldn't be surprised if some delegations will use light rail to get downtown. If your delegation wants to win the Green Delegate Challenge, riding the light rail will be the way to go. The line runs South along I-25 and is in close proximity to all hotels in the Denver Tech Center (DTC). Hotels North of Denver (Stapleton) will have to bus it.

The Pepsi Center can seat up to 21,000 for special events like the convention. It opened on October 1, 1999 at a cost of $180 million.

When you pass through the front doors of the arena you enter the Grand Atrium. The first thing you'll notice is a huge sculpture hanging from the ceiling. The 2,000 pound sculpture which is 1.5 times life size portrays Hockey and Basketball players in various poses. From this point you can access the Lower Concourse seats or go up to the Suite Level or Upper Concourse.

The best way to see what the arena looks like from the inside is at Seats3D where you can get a 3D view from any seating location. Obviously the configuration of the arena will be different but you'll be able to get a feel for what it's like to be inside the Pepsi Center whether you're in the front row or all the way up in the nosebleeds.

Early in July construction will begin to remodel the arena.

In preparation for the Democratic National Convention, they'll likely yank out lower-level seats, knock down luxury suite walls, haul in massive amounts of steel to reinforce the ceiling, erect a huge building in a parking lot to accommodate the media, and bring in new technology and miles of wire and cable.
Workers also will have to alter the arena to provide at least 50 production and staff offices, 20,000 square feet for candidate offices, 5,000 square feet for space used by police, Secret Service and other security, "holding rooms," and makeup and dressing rooms, among other areas, according to a document outlining the Democrats' convention expectations.

A 220,000-square-foot edifice, with everything from air conditioning to carpets, will be set up beside the Pepsi Center to handle the 15,000 media members expected to arrive en masse. - Rocky Mountain News

More on the construction team can be seen in this DNCC produced video