LINCOLN — The Pinnacle Bank Arena's planners aimed to create a state-of-the-art facility, incorporating such features as retractable rows of seats and a high-definition, four-sided scoreboard.
But arena General Manager Tom Lorenz sees the community as the arena's greatest asset.
Positioned just west of Lincoln's Haymarket district, the arena has sold out the Nov. 9 concert for singer Pink and the premium seating and season tickets for Husker men's basketball.
Lorenz also expects sellouts for the Michael Buble concert on Sept. 13 and for Jason Aldean on Sept. 19. Elton John's concert on Nov. 23, which was just announced Tuesday, is also expected to be a sellout.
During a tour of the arena Tuesday afternoon, Lorenz said he sees the sellouts as evidence of support for the new arena.
“Lincoln has so well supported this,” he said. “Basically every hotel in walking distance is sold out on concert nights.”
Dignitaries will cut the ribbon Thursday afternoon for the new arena before they open the doors for what amounts to a three-day public open house, culminating with Saturday night's “watch party” for the Nebraska-Wyoming football game.
The arena will be available for public tours from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The arena itself also has several nods to the Capital City.
Inside the south lobby, artwork is modeled after a box of chocolates to represent the city's former candy-making industry. Russell Stover operated one of its three candy factories in the Gillen & Boney Candy Co. factory during the 1950s. The Haymarket location accounted for nearly half its production until it closed in 1980.
Several pieces in the art display have Lincoln images on them: a Sower, a nod to the statue that tops the State Capitol, and Abraham Lincoln's profile, in honor of the city's namesake.
Take the escalator from the lobby to the main concourse and you will have a view of the Haymarket and Canopy Street, with seating outside on a deck known as the Capitol Terrace. Another piece of Lincoln lies in the Capitol Terrace Grill, which incorporates the same limestone used in building the Capitol.
Every seat in the building is at least 20 inches wide, but the suite seats are the widest, at 24 inches. The upper bowl is split into two sections so visitors don't have to walk up or down as many rows to get to one of the 11 permanent concession stands or 36 restrooms.
Transforming the arena floor after the Nov. 8 Nebraska basketball game, with 15,500 seats, into Pink's concert venue the next night, with 15,900 seats, will be an easy switch. The $184million arena has 10 retractable rows on the east, west and south sides and 18 on the north side.
“The architects did a terrific job of keeping the fan in mind,” Lorenz said.