New Arena Boosts Charlottesville's Economy

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

February 23, 2006

Guitars and drums will definitely make an appearance or two, but the new John Paul Jones Arena is expected to bring more than just big acts to our area. Officials say it might just create an economic boom. The Arena is expected to bring in 1.5 million visitors within the next 3 years, which is more than double the amount of people that the University Hall basketball program brings in.

"There is not going to be a better college basketball venue in the country," said Larry Wilson, Jr., the John Paul Jones Arena General Manager.

But there is going to be much more than hoops action at the new John Paul Jones Arena. Between the Harlem Globetrotters, Ringling Brothers and Disney on Ice, visitors will have a lot of entertainment to choose from.

"The number one goal for the University [of Virginia], as well as us was to have a diverse group of events that would appeal to all walks of life," said Wilson.

The more seats they fill, the better. That's one of the many reason why this new attraction will do wonders for our area, not only for the University, but also for the city of Charlottesville.

"It means economic vitality, it means money, it means tax dollars, it means fuller hotel rooms, and it means a little more traffic," said Timothy Hulbert, of the Chamber of Commerce.

City officials said each visitor that attends an event in Charlottesville spends about $135 a day. Add about $80 more if they spend the night. Officials said this arena is just what Charlottesville needs.

"It's a new market and it's an under-served market for many years for entertainment options," said Wilson.

"It just adds another jewel to our community as a destination," said Hulbert.

While the arena is still a mass of cranes and concrete, the first event will take to the stage in 134 days. The first three events are all top secret, and will not be announced until closer to the time tickets go on sale, which is in April.

The Arena will house at least 60 events a year, including wrestling, ballet, and full scale concerts.

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