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In the third press conference called this week, the Lightning announced a $35 million renovation project to the St. Pete Times Forum.

From the Lightning website:

“We are thrilled to unveil our transformation plans today,” said Lightning and St. Pete Times Forum CEO Tod Leiweke. “Jeff made it clear when he purchased the team that the arena needed to see significant upgrades to benefit all of its stakeholders, and I am pleased that we can make his vision come true over the next 12 months. We intend on developing and maintaining a first class arena, whose concourses reflect the great place that is Tampa Bay and whose arena bowl pays homage to the Lightning and the great game of hockey.”

Highlights of the transformation include a new grand entry on the west side of the Times Forum, offering a redesigned ticket office and merchandise shop while offering fans a better connection to the main concourse; new seats for every fan; an 11,000 square foot signature outdoor deck extending from the west side of the arena’s Terrace Level overlooking downtown Tampa; the removal of eight suites on the Plaza level, opening up the arena bowl to the main concourse; the enhancement of each of the arena’s remaining suites; the removal of several suites on the Plaza Level, opening up the arena floor to the concourse; a new Chairman’s Club; an enhanced Lightning team locker room; new concourse flooring and concession stands; and substantial improvements to a dilapidated HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system, allowing the arena to be warmer for the fans and the ice surface better for the players.

Two Terrace level seating sections (323 and 324, totaling approximately 550 seats) will be removed, creating space for a performance stage with a pipe organ and allowing the Lightning the opportunity to add several distinct elements to a greatly improved game presentation aimed at respecting the game of hockey and honoring the Tampa Bay community.

Renderings for the entire project are being made available for fans to view at tampabaylightning.com and visuals will be displayed throughout the St. Pete Times Forum during the 2010-11 hockey season.

For some visuals of the renovation go to Lightning Strikes which has some pretty photos

So now that we've had three press conferences in a row, what does tomorrow bring?

The only thing they could do to blow me away at this point is if they announce a new Stamkos contract. What? Did I say that? Well seriously, it's been a little quiet on the Stamkos contract front, no? Will we get the announcement during the season, or have to wait until summer?

Some of the visual concepts of the renovation:

lightning_feb2_concourse.jpg

lightning_feb2_outdoordeck.jpg

Full gallery is here on the Lightning website