GICC at night

The Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

After a delay to finalize its financing, College Park is ready to break ground on a 3,500- to 5,000-seat arena for the Atlanta Hawks’ Gatorade-affiliated development team and other tenants.

The ceremony is set for Feb. 12 at 12:30 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse.

The date originally was set for Jan. 30 but officials pushed it back to complete the revenue bond validation process, spokeswoman Kelli Colter said.

Hawks principal owner and chair Tony Ressler, team players, cheerleaders and mascot Harry the Hawk are set to join College Park Mayor Jack P. Longino and City Manager Terrence Moore, city council members and NBA G League President Malcolm Turner at the event.

“This arena will be the future home of the Atlanta Hawks G League team, the first ever Hawks development team in their home state,” Colter said in a statement.

It will also be a multipurpose venue, suitable for other sporting events, concerts and conventions, she said.

The celebration will include views of the arena’s renderings and announcement of its official name.

Shovels will dig into ceremonial soil before construction begins on the 100,000-square-foot space.

Colter said upon completion, it “will significantly impact the community through job creation and economic development and will broaden the entertainment quality of life in the area.”

Also slated to attend are Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, General Manager and head of basketball operations Travis Schlenk and head coach Mike Budenholzer.

The G-team, the Erie (Pa.) BayHawks, will be represented by General Manager Malik Rose and head coach Josh Longstaff.

Convention center Executive Director Mercedes Miller said in 2017 that the combination sports and concert venue will enhance the Gateway Center, which includes the convention center, three hotels and office space, and connects to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport via light rail.

She said its opening is planned for fall 2019.

It will also have a new 500-space parking deck.

The NBA team announced in 2016 that the arena will be ready for league play in the 2019-20 season.

Longino at the time praised the NBA and Hawks “for making a sound and wise decision to commit and select the city of College Park as their preferred site of choice.”

Koonin noted the agreement brings College Park its first professional basketball team, delivering “the Hawks’ brand of sports and entertainment while building bridges to this thriving community.”

Moore called the deal “a tremendous partnership and collaboration.”

It also may be called a case of lemons to lemonade.

According to a 2016 city news release, the city’s economic development team, led by Artie Jones III, vied for a Hawks practice facility.

Brookhaven got the nod, but team officials were impressed by College Park and suggested a better match.

Team officials noted the new arena will be less than 10 miles from downtown Atlanta Hawks games at Philips Arena, under renovation at a cost of about $192.5 million and set to be complete by the start of the 2018-19 season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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