On November 13, 2019, Robert Sarver, James Jones, and the rest of the Phoenix Suns’ brass held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the team’s new practice facility, located just north of Camelback Road on the west side of 44th Street. As we close in on the one-year anniversary of that ceremony, it looks like the facility is just about complete and that the team may be starting the migration from the Madhouse on McDowell to their new home in the shadow of Camelback Mountain.
My normal commute happens to take me past the facility, so I’ve had a chance to see it through various stages of construction.
Basically me driving by..... pic.twitter.com/naCpZOwHtO— in my defense, i have none (@SoSaysJ) November 10, 2020
So, before we get to how things look today, let’s take a look at how far things have come so far.
At the groundbreaking, we stood in an empty dirt lot and listened to team officials describe their vision. At the time, Sarver said the hope was for the facility to be complete by August 2020, but acknowledged that construction projects often run into delays. Combine that with a global pandemic and it is not surprising that the original target date was not met.
By late December 2019, the foundation was ready and the framework could be seen peeking over the security fence along 44th Street.
By mid-January, the framework extended higher and cranes had been brought in to build up to the structure that we see today.
By the beginning of March, steel beams were in place to join what previously looked like two separate structures.
Around this time, as we all know, COVID-19 was starting to take its grip on the U.S. and, of course, on March 11, the NBA suspended its season. I bring this up also because it explains the large gap you are about to see in the process. With the operations of businesses and schools being affected, my commute also changed until September.
But when late-September rolled around, I returned to see a much different project than I last saw in March. The front of the facility facing 44th Street appeared to be substantially complete, as did the back side of the facility. But while the building looked substantially more complete, it was clear that there was still work to be done.
As recent as October 28, the security fence along 44th Street remained up and many began wondering just when this thing was actually going to be complete.
On November 6, I was met with the pleasant surprise of that fence being down, which revealed the landscape in front of the the practice facility. My interest piqued, I circled around to the back of the facility and found the parking lot complete, lights up, and far fewer workers than I had seen in the past.
Which finally brings us to the present.
This video shows the detail along the side of the facility, which is what people will see as they come from 44th Street. While there are still workers present, the number of construction trucks seem to be far fewer than before.
Lastly, there is a gated entrance to another parking lot on the north side of the facility. While there, I saw at least one vehicle head that way, which perhaps indicates the presence of team personnel.
Perhaps a look inside will be around the corner for Suns fans (it crossed my mind to try to boldly get that exclusive for Bright Side of the Sun while I was there, but I ultimately thought better of it). But, regardless, it appears that, at long last, the Suns’ new practice facility is close to being up and running, if not up and running already.
Now we can all focus on who will be using this shiny new practice facility in the months and years to come.