The first piece of the six-story, glass hangar door that will be the face of the Golden 1 Center was fitted Thursday.
Over the next couple of months, several steel-framed units will be placed, followed by testing to make sure the door is properly functioning before glass is installed. By the end of March, the door will be fully functional.
"By the end of March you should be able to press the button and it'll open and close," Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger told Sactown Royalty Thursday during a tour of the new facility.
The glass door to the entrance of the arena will allow the Delta Breeze to serve as a natural cooling system, pulling air in and down and then up through small vents found under the seats in the stands. The doors also will provide a unique setting for concerts as thousands of concert-goers will be able to stand outside and hear music from the plaza that will be connected to the 16-story, mixed-use Downtown Plaza Tower, which is also under construction.
The "open concept" of the Golden 1 Center, which is set to open this fall, is something that has been touted for a while, but seeing it in person is eye opening. The nosebleed sections of this place won't be anything to scoff at, thanks to the bridge that connects the horseshoe upper bowl. The bridge is located on the north end of the arena just inside the glass door entrance. Fans standing on the bridge will have a view of the entire court and stands. Turn around and they will see the outdoor plaza, adjacent hotel and downtown Sacramento.
Here is the view from the suite-level, or the "lower bridge."
The bridge itself could end up featuring a series of bars, drink rails, stools and standing-room-only spots. Think of the door, combined with the bridge as a functional version of Fenway Park's green monster wall.
"Our upper bowl is going to be I think as attractive for people as the lower bowl," Granger said.
You can see the lower and upper-level bridges in use in this concert rendering.
Here is what it looks like right now standing on the floor level. (Photo via Will Griffith).
The lower bowl is large - capable of accommodating 10,000 people. Resting above the lower bowl is a concourse that wraps around the entire arena, with the concessions being pushed back so fans will be able to see the action on the floor at all times. In one spot on the concourse, the practice facility will be visible through a large glass window. The below photo shows the concourse, with the glass window to the practice facility on the right.
The mini-suites (lofts) and large suites have an open feel as well, with the ability for folks in adjacent suites to high-five and discuss the game. The communal environment will continue with gathering spots such as lounges, beer gardens and drinking rails featured throughout the arena.
Oh, and no more hiking up flights of stairs to get from the lower to the upper bowl like the current setup in Sleep Train Arena. There will be two sets of escalators.
The functionality of the facility is impressive. Underneath the main structure are loading docks that can handle a lot more than Sleep Train Arena, and a series of winding hallways that lead to the locker rooms, the coach's room, media lounge and a route to the practice facility. Everything is connected behind the scenes. Where most arenas have loading docks and areas for trash in the back, there won't be anything of that nature open to the public eye at the Golden 1 Center.
Below are a few more photos from the tour the Kings provided Sactown Royalty.
Exterior facade (photo via Kimani Okearah):
Home locker room:
Lower bowl and court:
The lower-level bridge (photo via Kimani Okearah):