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VIDEO: New England Patriots Near Goal Line in Completing Gillette Stadium Upgrades

Mon July 17, 2023 - Northeast Edition #16
The Architect’s Newspaper & CEG

The National Football League's New England Patriots have released new renderings of their $250 million stadium renovations and additions, scheduled to be completed in time for the team's regular season opening in September.

Gillette Stadium was originally opened in Foxborough, Mass., in 2002, about 22 mi. southwest of Boston. The stadium cost $325 million when it was built, and it is the only NFL stadium that was fully-funded through private sources. Since then, it has seen a series of renovations, with the most recent one focusing on an enormous screen, a new lighthouse (that oversees a parking lot rather than the ocean) and improved concourses.

The stadium also is the home field for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.

Work began in January 2022, led by Boston-based Suffolk Construction, and included the demolition of the stadium's iconic lighthouse, built next to a bridge, a reference to the seacoast imagery of New England. The stadium's renovations include a new, 22-story lighthouse with an observation deck giving fans a 360-degree view of the surrounding area that will operate year-round, not just on game day.

The Architect's Newspaper reported July 12 that Patriots officials said visitors will be able to view both the Boston and Providence, R.I., skylines from the maritime-inspired structure.

Massive, Curved Video Board Highlights Inside Upgrades

Additionally, a revamped Enel Plaza, the stadium's main entrance on its north end, will include an expanded grand staircase adjacent to the lighthouse.

Inside the revamped Gillette Stadium, work is well under way on the largest outdoor stadium video board in the country, according to the team. Measuring 370 ft. wide by 60 ft. high, the curved screen is more than five times as large as its predecessor.

"Throughout the planning of this project, we worked hard to positively impact every guest that comes to Gillette Stadium," explained Jim Nolan, COO of Kraft Sports + Entertainment, which oversees events management for Gillette Stadium, the Patriots and the Revolution.

"From arrival to departure and through 360-degree access around the building, new food and beverage locations and menu offerings, premium spaces, the curved-radius video board, and more, the fan journey has been enhanced."

Other improvements include the full connection of all concourse levels around the stadium — some levels previously only wrapped around part of the venue. A new fan space covering a 2,000-sq.-ft. patio and 4,000-sq.-ft. interior space, the Bud Light Celebration Beer Hall, is designed to give fans a field-level view of players as they walk from a tunnel into the stadium.

Above Enel Plaza, the new G-P Atrium hosts a 50,000-sq.-ft., year-round hospitality space that fills what had been a gap between suite spaces. Wrapped in glass and including a two-tier balcony, the Atrium will sit below the video board when opened.

For all fans, improved lower concourse amenities include eateries in which fans can swipe their credit card upon entry and automatically be charged when they exit (this already exists in places like the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.), self-pouring beer kiosks, and additional bars and restrooms. Changes to the stadium will shift its acoustics, according to Architect's Newspaper, with the video board and concourse changes expected to keep more sound inside the venue.

Changes to the north end will mitigate some wind from entering the stadium, but without a roof, fans will be far from weatherproofed. However, hearty Patriots' fans have come to rely on frigid, wintry weather to give the team an advantage over most of its opponents from warmer climes.

All improvements to Gillette Stadium are on-track to open for the Patriots' first game of the 2023 NFL season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 10.

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