Last week I stumbled upon this 20-year-old commercial for the then-under-construction Corestates Center, and I was shocked at how ... old ... it looked. The video was in black and white and the narration made it feel like something from the 1970s, not the 1990s.
But the blast from the past made me think: The Spectrum only lasted 30 years. The Wells Fargo Center is already almost 20 years old. How much longer will it last?
Much like many NHL arenas constructed in the 1990s, Comcast-Spectacor has plans for pretty significant renovation at the WFC in the coming years, according to a report in Tuesday's Philadelphia Daily News:
One of the first plans in the overhaul, according to sources, is a total refresh of the suite and club levels. A significant update to both the upper and lower concourses would follow.
The timing of it all seems to be in flux, but the big physical changes are not expected to begin until 2016 or later. That's when the 20-year note on the Wells Fargo Center, built with private financing, is scheduled to be paid off.
The Flyers have updated the Wells Fargo Center a few times during its 19 years, adding 8,000 square feet of bar and restaurant space in 2005 (today it's called the Cure Insurance Club), replacing the center-ice score board, adding LED advertising and score boards around the seating bowls, updating arena stores and food options, etc. Most arenas of this age have renovated similarly.
But what's discussed here would be a much more intense overhaul. A possible comparison could be what's happened at Boston's TD Garden, where they completely renovated the lower concourse this past offseason and will do the same to the upper concourse this coming summer. The $70 million refresh definitely brought that building, which opened in 1995, up to a modern standard. I've seen it in person and it's really nice -- as nice as any brand-new building in the league.
So hopefully we can expect something similar. The Wells Fargo Center is a good building with nice amenities and great sight lines, and even if it doesn't get as loud as the Spectrum did, it's still a place we've learned to call home over the last 20 years. Some updates would do it good.