Pharrell, Ray Lewis part of group announcing big plans for newly-named CFG Bank Arena
BALTIMORE -- A star-studded cast helped announce the new name of the CFG Bank Arena, formerly known as Royal Farms Arena.
Musician Pharrell Williams -- a 13-time Grammy-award winner -- Ravens legend Ray Lewis and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott joined developer Oak View Group in downtown Baltimore Monday afternoon.
But first, the mayor and other officials took a sneak peak inside the arena, which is getting an all-around rejuvenation.
"It's awesome," Mayor Scott said. "We knew the girl had good bones, now we're just rejuvenating everything."
Royal Farm's naming rights at the arena expired at the end of May. The development company referred to it as Baltimore Arena until the renaming.
The area, which has been in Baltimore for 60 years, is under reconstruction, and is scheduled to reopen in February 2023, which is when the company says "top artists in concert" and the "biggest sporting events" will come to the arena.
These renovations include seating for 14-000 people, upgraded concessions stands and a new façade, along with technological updates like self-service food.
Lewis, fresh off celebrating the Ravens' 10-year Super Bowl anniversary, calls Baltimore his home, and is always looking to make the community better.
"Thank you for coming to our city, making our city better," Lewis said. "Our next Super Bowl is to help this place become better."
Oak View Group & Thirty-Five Ventures, founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman, are fully funding the estimated $150 million renovations.
Developers broke ground on the renovations in June.
Pharrell Williams is also one of the celebrities partnering with Oak View Group on this project.
"Oak View Group and what they do, their reputation is just stellar," Williams said. "They don't miss. They go in and change communities. When they talked to me about the opportunity, they talked about Baltimore and immediately I knew that this was right."
Williams saw Baltimore as a city full of potential, and that what they are adding to the arena will be impactful for all communities in the city.
"I said where they are right now and where they can be is where the opportunity is," Williams said. "It's not at its ceiling, not even close, but it's climbing. "Every year you are seeing yourselves on another rung in the ladder. I want to be a part of that conversation. I want to be a part of that change. I want to be a part of that growth."
Lewis, who played for the Ravens from 1996 until 2012, said the projects planned will help Baltimore thrive.
"It's a true pleasure to always be home," Lewis said. "God is intentional when it comes to timing. This city has the heart of lions, we are built differently. When you partner with legends of life, you leave this place better than when we came in."
The announcement came the day after the building's 60th anniversary, Oct. 23, 1962, the company said.
City leaders said many more announcements are scheduled for the Baltimore Arena.
"I am excited to be here because this announcement is what a new era of Baltimore is going to look like," Mayor Scott said. "This arena is a major player in the renaissance that is taking place in Charm City."
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