After a busy spring, TD Garden is getting ready to close its doors for most of the summer and emerge in the fall with a new look.
When the New Kids on the Block walk off the stage next Saturday night, the arena will go dark for all but one of the next 10 weeks while owner Delaware North puts the finishing touches on $100 million worth of upgrades ahead of the next hockey and basketball seasons. The work will require a rare extended shutdown while giant cranes are brought in to swap out about 16,500 seats in the Garden’s bowl.
It follows a hockey season that lasted as long as possible, with the Bruins hosting Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last week. But Garden officials say they scheduled the expansion project — parts of which has been underway since last fall — with a deep postseason run in mind.
“We knew we had two teams that were going to be in the playoffs,” said TD Garden president Amy Latimer, speaking of the Bruins and the Celtics (who played their last home playoff game May 6). “We said we might as well not plan on any construction in June, anyway.”
But now that both teams are done, they’re going full-bore on the upgrades, which include expanded concourses and club areas; about 400 new seats hanging over existing stands from the ninth floor, and the replacement of all seating in the loge and balcony levels. It’s a way to improve the 24-year-old arena and create more space for fans to mingle — and spend money — away from their seats. In all, about 50,000 square feet of space is being added.
The arena won’t be completely dark during the next three months. The pro shop and other public facilities will remain open. And the arena itself will reopen for five concerts during one week in early August, before closing again for more seating work.
“We’ll do as much as we can, then we’ll just take the cranes out for that week,” Latimer said.
July and August are typically the slowest months of the year at the Garden, which hosted 196 ticketed events last year, plus various charitable events. In summer, however, the Bruins and Celtics are on hiatus, and concerts generally head outdoors. Still, Garden officials did have to reschedule or pass up a few concerts this summer, Latimer said. It found temporary new venues for an annual backpack giveaway for school children and the MR8K road race that finished in the Garden last Labor Day weekend.
“People were great,” Latimer said. “Everyone understands these are massive projects.”
The goal, she said, is to be done by late September or early October, when the Bruins and Celtics are back in season. A bit more progress might have been made in the spring if the Bruins hadn’t gone so deep in the NHL playoffs, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s fine, Latimer said.
“I don’t know if you even want to call it that a problem,” she said. “It’s the best problem to have, going to a Stanley Cup Finals.”