The plan for UC Riverside’s multi-purpose arena, which has been in the works for nearly two years, is now on hold indefinitely due to economic reasons.
The last proposal for the C-Center, originally pictured as a 6,000- to 8,000-seat arena with costs nearing the $80 million mark, included an independent, UCR-unaffiliated “development team” that would plan, design and finance the arena on the university’s land. The location was originally set to replace Bannockburn Village but was scrapped in favor of land near Iowa Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The university’s “Request for Qualifications” document laid out the plan for the construction of the C-Center and called for potential developers to submit their teams and ideas for the project during early summer.
Ultimately, the university may have bitten off more than it could chew, however, with the economics of the project not adding up. James Grant, the university’s spokesman and assistant vice chancellor of strategic communications, shared that while the project may be on hold, it’s certainly not off the table. “Through the spring and summer, we conducted a solicitation of interested developers to provide qualifications and proposals for the construction and operation of such a facility,” he stated. “The results of that solicitation, which concluded recently, demonstrate that the project as originally envisioned — which did not involve addition of campus resources — is not economically viable. However, there is still interest in the creation of a facility that would provide options for a variety of academic uses, campus and community events, and our intercollegiate court sports.”
The C-Center has delivered enthusiasm to the campus since its announcement last year. Within the last few months, the arena has gained a plethora of supporters including the dean of UC Riverside Extension Sharon Duffy, former UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White, former Interim Chancellor Jane Conoley, members of Riverside’s city council and the general student body.
Earlier this summer, Interim Athletic Director Jim Wooldridge spoke about the positive impact the arena would have on the campus of UC Riverside. “By building this facility, the department is going to take a huge step forward. It’s going to transform UC Riverside as it relates to the athletics department,” he stated. “There will be a renewed enthusiasm and sense of pride in our school and department. It will pay dividends not only in wins and losses, but in the image and perception of our school. It’s the number one thing we have going (forward).”
So while the C-Center may be delayed, there is still a possibility that the university can weave together a plan for a restructured arena, but the only problem is money.