Skip to main content

Columbia Business Monthly

Greenville Arena District Embarks on $170 Million Master Plan

Jul 09, 2024 02:13PM ● By David Dykes

(Photo courtesy of Bon Secours Wellness Arena)

The Greenville Arena District, owner and operator of Bon Secours Wellness Arena, said architecture firms LS3P, LMN, and Gensler Sports have been awarded the contract for master planning services for the 15,500-seat sports and entertainment arena.

Initial plans, as shared at the Greenville County Finance Committee on Monday night, call for spending $170 million.

The GAD is also in the process of re-imagining the district as the gateway into the city of Greenville, South Carolina, and selected LMN to oversee the urban design of the arena’s surrounding campus. 

The design teams will engage the local Upstate community for input throughout the planning process, which is anticipated to take about six months. 

Officials said the vision for the master plan will include significant improvements to and an expansion of Bon Secours Wellness Arena to ensure its long-term success and growth in the competitive Southeast region. 

Master planning services for the GAD campus will aim to transform it into a distinct destination, officials said.

The newly imagined campus will embody a unique sense of place that will establish the area as a vibrant neighborhood, as well as a hub for live entertainment, music, and culture, all while keeping sustainability at the forefront, the officials said. 

Said Beth Paul, general manager of Bon Secours Wellness Arena: “We have selected a world class team to  help deliver our vision for the future of the arena. Our mission is to enhance every aspect of the arena — from  the surrounding campus and the building itself to the fan and client experiences, sustainability, programming,  and security. By doing this, we hope to attract premier talent and set the stage for unforgettable memories.”

LS3P of Greenville, S.C., will oversee the project and market study in partnership with industry leading design and architecture firm, Gensler. 

Alongside Gensler, LS3P has overseen numerous projects such as Clemson University’s Littlejohn Arena and Raleigh’s PNC Arena upcoming renovations.  

Gensler’s portfolio covers a range of properties including the Moody Center in Austin, TX, Los Angeles’ Arena, Milwaukee’s Deer District, Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium and New York’s Citi Field.  

“Redefining the future of Bon Secours Wellness Arena and its connection to the city of Greenville is an incredibly exciting opportunity at an incredibly exciting time,” said Greg Brown, senior project designer at Gensler. “Our team is committed to delivering transformative solutions for both the venue and the city.” 

“Our team is ready to begin providing guidance for our hometown arena’s next chapter, ultimately positioning it for  continued success in an increasingly competitive regional market,” said LS3P Greenville Officer Leader John Edwards. 

“We look forward to inviting the public into the planning process, seeking their feedback  and ideas to guarantee that the community's voice shapes the project's development,” Paul said. 

She added, “We are committed to  creating a distinct destination that embodies a unique sense of place — a hub where individuals come together to enjoy, unwind, and create shared memories. Integral to this vision is fostering a seamless connection with Downtown Greenville, celebrating the distinctive essence and historical significance of The Well and reinforcing its role as a cornerstone of our community's identity.” 

The Post and Courier reported County Council’s Finance Committee voted 5-0 to give initial approval July 8 to the Greenville Arena District’s issuance of $70 million in general obligation bonds, and full council approval is needed. 

The county's role is simply to authorize the bonds, which would be the sole obligation of the arena district, the newspaper reported.

It said the bonds would be repaid over 20 years by a long-standing tax levied within the Greenville Arena District.

Bon Secours Wellness Arena hosts approximately 130 commercial/ticketed events each year, plus an additional 75-100 community/non-profit events annually, making it one of the busiest buildings of its size.

Pollstar Magazine, a leading concerts and live entertainment industry trade publication, recently released its 2024 mid-year reports where the venue ranked No. 13 among American arenas and No. 25 worldwide for ticket sales. 

Since its opening in 1998, the arena has played host to more than 12 million fans, has created more than 500 full-time jobs, and injected well over $70 million into the Greenville metro area annually.

The Greenville Arena District is a special purpose district created by the General Assembly of South Carolina in 1940. Governed by a board of trustees appointed by the governor, the District manages its facilities to provide educational, cultural, athletic, and convention center services. 

The Greenville Arena District oversaw the Greenville Memorial Auditorium which opened in 1958 and is now the owner and operator of Bon Secours Wellness Arena.