LINCOLN — The new Pinnacle Bank Arena will be completed by Aug. 14, one month ahead of schedule, Lincoln officials announced Friday.
The arena's silvery, saucer-shaped exterior is essentially complete, leaving the interior finishes and fixture installation of the 16,000-seat facility constituting the bulk of the work to be completed in the next four months, said Dan Marvin, project coordinator.
The new completion date will give manager Tom Lorenz about a month to prepare for the arena's first major concert, by Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, on Sept. 13. Tickets will go on sale May 17.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's summer graduation, on Aug. 16 and 17, will be the first “shakedown” event for the new facility, Lorenz said. A formal ribbon-cutting is planned for Aug. 29.
The facility will serve as home court for the NU basketball teams. Nebraska officials said Friday that season tickets are sold out for the men's team.
Contractors will get a $147,000 incentive for finishing early — less than 0.1 percent of the contractors' guaranteed maximum price of $160 million. However, if they now fail to meet the new scheduled completion date, they face penalties of $150,000 per event that must be rescheduled.
The building's full cost, including furnishings, is $178 million, Marvin said.
Lincoln voters approved the arena in May 2010, and construction began in September 2011. It is part of a redevelopment plan for Lincoln's Haymarket District — a former warehouse and factory area not far from Memorial Stadium — that will cost about $370 million in public funds. That cost includes two additional parking garages approved earlier this year.
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and other officials gathered Friday morning to announce the new completion date.
“We hired the best, and the visible result of those good decisions is now gleaming on the City of Lincoln's horizon to the west,” he said.
The project required BNSF Railway tracks to be moved and environmental cleanup in the former railroad yard. Beutler said a good working relationship with the railroad and state environmental authorities has been vital to the project's timely completion.
Mortenson Construction, a Minneapolis-based construction company that specializes in sports arenas, and Lincoln-based Hampton Enterprises partnered as the project's general contractors. They credited innovative scheduling and management techniques for putting the project ahead of schedule, as well as for making up for lost time after a glitch in the fabrication of rebar was discovered in December 2011. Construction was briefly halted while the problem was addressed.
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