Oak View Group has signed a deal to develop a $280 million renovation of FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, that will see the 18,000-capacity arena that opened in 1985 revamped into a modern entertainment venue.
Led by OVG and Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group, the extensive upgrades will see the city-owned facility’s facade redone while adding premium seating, improved acoustics and artist lounges, according to the announcement, with a focus on heightened technology and sustainable operations.
“We’re very much a fan of Ontario, the province and the growth here,” Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said ahead of a press conference announcing the project. ”If you look at where this Toronto metropolitan area’s growing, it’s growing south. We love what’s going on here with the rejuvenation of the downtown core.”
OVG is parent company to VenuesNow.
In 2021, the Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group signed master agreements with the city of Hamilton to renovate the FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall and Hamilton Convention Centre, with an initial $50 million private investment.
The urban group has a previous relationship with OVG Facilities co-chair Peter Luukko and officials saw additional opportunity for the project with OVG as a partner.
“We live by an adage that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” said PJ Mercanti, president and CEO of HUPEG and a life-long Hamilton resident. “We knew that Oak View Group was the perfect partner to align with.”