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Consultant recommends Paul Brown Stadium upgrades, not new facility

Paul Brown Stadium

A consultant hired by the Cincinnati Bengals and Hamilton County says Paul Brown Stadium upgrades and maintenance will be needed as the pair negotiate a new lease for the NFL facility.

At a time when several NFL teams are evaluating the future of their stadiums, Demetra Thornton, principal for architecture firm Gensler, says that the stadium has great bones and should serve the needs of both the team and Hamilton County. She based that on an evaluation of the stadium based on 15 criteria across all aspects of the fan experience, including technology, concessions and parking.

The ballpark figure for these upgrades and maintenance is approximately $493 million–a substantial sum, to be sure. But when the price tag for a new NFL stadium is well over $1 billion–$1.9 billion for a new covered Tennessee Titans stadium and $1.4 billion for a new open-air Buffalo Bills stadium–this price tag may seem to be reasonable. The Bengals’ lease ends in 2026, and negotiations for a new lease should begin in 2024. From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Paul Brown Stadium was meant to evolve and adapt, not be imploded, Thornton said. 

The original design was meant to be expanded,” Thornton said. “We learned from Riverfront. I don’t want this building to be imploded. I want it to stand the test of time.”

Renovations are a much cheaper option to the taxpayer than a new stadium, said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. 

“I’m very glad we are talking about renovations, not replacement because the cost is so different,” Driehaus said.  “If we were talking about replacement it would be in the billions.”

RELATED STORIES: Hamilton County hires team to explore future of Paul Brown Stadium

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August Publications