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In basketball parlance, the ball bouncing the right way is a good thing. So is a slam dunk.
Both also describe the new Phoenix Suns and Mercury training facility – the Verizon 5G Performance Center. ULI Arizona brought together the industry players who made the facility a reality.
The training facility, located at 44th Street and Camelback Road, one of the most high-profile intersections in the Valley, spans nearly 50,000 SF and includes two NBA/WNBA basketball courts, the latest in sport science and innovative performance amenities, indoor/outdoor training areas and operational space for Suns and Mercury basketball operations.
The private practice facility is part of the first phase of RED Development’s $300 million, innovative mixed-use development of the area.
Zoom panelists included Jeff Moloznik, Vice President – Development, RED Development; Eric Nagy, Director – Technology & Product Development, Operator & Sports Partnerships, Verizon Wireless; and Jason Rowley, President and CEO, Phoenix Suns. Heather Personne, Managing Principal, Evolve Ventures, served as moderator.
“We really didn’t even have this type of site under contract,” Moloznik said. “We had been toying with different concepts, because like I said, we’ve been working on this thing for a decade. (Suns owner) Robert Sarver calls up our founding partner Mike Ebert on Super Bowl Sunday and says, ‘How much do you want for this building?’
Moloznik said Ebert had no idea what building Sarver was talking about.
“And that’s when he shared with us the idea of building this private training facility for the Suns on the site,” Moloznik explained. “We had to scramble with the City of Phoenix and the existing property owner to figure out how do it; how to build something that hasn’t been built in the city before, a private sports training facility.
“It was kind of a watershed moment for us. The ball bounced the right way for all of these things to happen in a completely unplanned way,” Moloznik said.
With two teams, Rowley said “you’re really only talking collectively in terms of players about maybe 30 to 35 people. And then if you’re putting on top of that training staff and coaches for each your front office staff, ultimately, the number of people who are utilizing the facilities is relatively small. But the primary point was the one Jeff already made is that it’s their place of work. It’s not a place where you’re going to be having games and inviting the public and watch the games and selling tickets and things like that.”
From Nagy’s standpoint, he said it was a matter of team and technology coming together.
“We’ve partnered with the Suns for a long time,” Nagy said. “We’re excited about the new technology we’re bringing to this facility. Our work is never done. We continue to challenge each other and innovate and bring new things.
“This was an amazing vision from the top on down,” he added.
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