SpiritBank Event Center is Ready for Action

Contributing Writer

BEAUTIFUL FACILITY: The impressive SpiritBank Event Center, located at 106th Street and Memorial Drive, stands ready to become one of the region’s most popular destinations.

DAVID JONES for GTR Newspapers

Almost there!
A week before the SpiritBank Event Center was set to open, developer Tim Remy looked around the vast auditorium, which at capacity will seat around 4,800 patrons, and admitted, “I’m excited.”

With the grand opening featuring legendary band ZZ Top just days away, Remy was looking at the frantic last-minute preparations being made to the new arena a block east of 106th Street and East Memorial Drive.

Not quite everything was in place at this writing, but it was deceptively close. The floor of the arena was surrounded by chairs that looked like they were flattened against a wall, but Remy said that with the press of a button they could slide down and be ready for customers in five minutes.

The Tulsa 66ers, the Development League team for the Oklahoma City Thunder, will play 24 home games in the SpiritBank arena this year and the team will move its office into space in the center later this year. The only thing lacking in the arena was a scoreboard, but Remy said an eight by 12 video board would be fixed in place before the opening. The basketball floor has already been finished and put together on a trial basis.

“When we get used to doing it,” says Remy, “we estimate it will take us four hours to put it down and four to get it back up.”

This is expected in most new arenas. What makes the SpiritBank Event Center unique is the unexpected benefits it offers.

Halls to the left and right of the main lobby will feature shops and restaurants. Not all the spaces are leased yet, says Remy, but they already include a sports restaurant/bar and a Greek restaurant.

One can always walk outside the arena to find Regal Plaza, with its multitude of shops and eating establishments within a couple of hundred yards.

There will be plenty of goodies within the arena itself. When it came to finding a concessions operator for the center, Remy had to look no further than a couple of blocks. Tom Pryor, owner of Indigo Joe’s sports restaurant, was ready to take on the job.

“Our kitchens in the concessions stands use the same kind of equipment we have at the restaurant,” says Pryor, “and we are not only going to offer the standard concession stand kind of food but also a lot of the items we offer at Indigo Joe’s. You’ll be able to get popcorn and hamburgers and hot dogs and nachos and corn dogs and fries, but you’ll also have your choice of barbequed pulled pork, barbeque brisket, Philly cheese steak and turkey wraps. We’ll probably be adding other items as we experiment.”

Beer of the standard American varieties will be offered at the stands, but for those wanting a more exotic brew there will be a walk-up bar downstairs and a sit-down bar upstairs with mixed drinks as well. Patrons may take the drink to their seats.

Luxury suites are a staple of new arenas and the SpiritBank Event Center has these as well. “We have six suites,” says Remy, “ranging in price from $50,000 to $75,000 a year. The larger suites seat 20, the smaller seat 12. Four have been sold so we only have two left.

“From these seats purchasers will be able to see all the 66ers games and all the shows we will be offering. If we are given enough advance notice we will be able to serve steak dinners there, and each will be individually catered, so everything we offer in food and drink will be delivered to the suite.”

In addition to the shops and suites, the center is providing 30,000 square feet of office space with the build-outs of the spaces due to begin in late November. The arena will have curtains they can place over the office windows so if a late-nighter coincides with a concert the windows can be covered and the audience won’t be distracted.

Popular events can bring large crowds that would overwhelm the parking spaces in a shopping center but Remy is ready.

“We have, just next door and south of the center, a parking garage that will cost $3 to $5 depending on the event. From there it is only a few steps to the arena or any of the shops in the area.”

Thus a person could come early in the afternoon, park in the parking lot, take a brief stroll to the movie theater a handful of blocks away, return to do some shopping, eat at a leisure pace somewhere in Regal Plaza, then take a casual walk to the arena to take in the evening’s festivities.

An all-in-one entertainment environment.

No wonder Remy is excited.

Updated 09-25-2008

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