BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  The Baltimore Development Corporation announced that they are beginning negotiations with Oak View Group regarding a potential $150 million renovation of the Royal Farms Arena.

“Today, I’m pleased to have given BDC the go-ahead to enter into final and exclusive negotiations with OVG, which is an important key step toward realizing the long-awaited transformation of the iconic and historic Baltimore Arena into a world-class entertainment venue,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott said. “The project will catalyze the reopening of Baltimore’s tourism and hospitality market and reposition Baltimore as a destination for top-tier national events and live entertainment. I look forward to being briefed on BDC‘s final negotiations and deal terms.

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Under the proposal, Oak View Group & Thirty Five Ventures, founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman, would fully fund the estimated $150 million renovations.

Durant and Kleiman said in a statement: “We’re thrilled that the Baltimore Development Corporation has selected our partners at Oak View Group for this groundbreaking renovation. OVG has proven its reputation for innovation in the venue space, and we’re looking forward to working with them to bring Baltimore Arena and a myriad sports and entertainment opportunities to life in Baltimore.”

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The announcement is a milestone in Baltimore’s long-sought goal of a state-of-the-art arena downtown.

“I am thrilled that the city has identified, through a competitive process, a highly capable firm to renovate this critically important Baltimore cultural facility,” said Councilman Eric Costello, District 11. “Keeping the former Baltimore Civic Center, now the Baltimore Arena, on the west side of Baltimore’s downtown is incredibly important as it supports so many other redevelopment efforts in that area. Doing so with private dollars is clearly a huge win for the city.”

Both groups said they are committed to achieving 45 percent minority and women-owned business participation in the renovation process. The general contractor, Clark Construction, said they plan to prioritize city residents in the hiring process and will provide various types of apprenticeship programs.

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“OVG and Thirty-Five Ventures’ passion for Baltimore combined with exemplary experience in the design, development, and operation of sports and entertainment venues makes the team a clear choice to reimagine the Baltimore Arena,” said Colin Tarbert, President & CEO of BDC. “OVG and Thirty-Five Ventures’ major private investment is a strong endorsement that Baltimore remains a strong market for economic growth.”

CBS Baltimore Staff