The Toronto Raptors' recent post-season run generated a lot of new fans and overall interest in the team, and despite a heartbreaking game 7 defeat, excitement and buzz for the coming season continues to grow along with the fan base. The Raptors are still one of the newest franchises in the NBA, and unlike many of the more established teams, the Raptors practice in a small training facility within the Air Canada Centre. This is all soon to change though, as Council voted 38-2 this afternoon to approve a new $30 million practice facility for the Toronto Raptors to be built at the western end of Exhibition Place.
Officially referred to by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) as the 'High Performance Basketball Development and Training Centre' the training facility will occupy a purpose-built two-storey, 64,000 square-foot building featuring two full-size basketball courts and training amenities. The facility is designed by Baldwin & Franklin Architects, as well as Oklahoma-based architects Guernsey, who designed a similar practice facility for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.
MLSE is committing to making the majority of the daytime and evening basketball court time available for community use, with the majority of the remaining time being used for the training of the Toronto Raptors NBA team. Parks staff have indicated that the availability of these basketball courts for community use will help in addressing a shortage of indoor basketball space in the south downtown area.
Construction of the new practice facility is expected to commence in the coming months, with completion slated for February 2016, to coincide with Toronto's hosting of the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. The site is currently a parking lot immediately west of the Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Building which is currently in use by the Medieval Times dinner theatre. The construction of the new facility will come at the cost of a baseball diamond located to the immediate east of the proposal site, area which would need to be used for parking during that time. MLSE has agreed to reinstate the baseball diamond at a cost of $1 Million to them once the site is no longer needed for parking.
We will be sure to return with additional updates as more information about the facility emerges. In the meantime, you can join in the conversation by visiting the Forum thread linked below, or by leaving a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.
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