Toyota Center is an indoor arena located in downtown Houston, Texas. It is named after the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. The arena is home to the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association, the principal users of the building, and the former home of the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.
In May 1995, several Texas sports teams, including the Houston Rockets, proposed legislation that would dedicate state tax revenue to build new arenas. Although the bill was failed in the Texas House of Representatives, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander announced he would continue to study the possibility of constructing a new arena in downtown Houston, saying the 20-year old Summit arena was too outdated to be profitable. Although the Summit's management said they could renovate the building for a small part of the cost of a new arena, the Rockets began talks with the city of Houston on a possible location for an arena, They also negotiated with Houston Aeros and Summit owner, Chuck Watson, to release them from their contract with the Summit, which ran until 2003.
According to the agreement signed, the city of Houston bought the land for the arena and an adjoining parking garage, which was near the George R. Brown Convention Center, and paid for it by selling bonds and borrowing $30 million. Morris Architects, designed the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 Sq mi) building, and Hunt Construction was contracted to build the arena. A building formerly owned by Houston Lighting and Power Company was demolished to make way for the arena, and two streets were closed for the duration of the construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 31, 2001, and construction continued for 26 months.
The arena can seat 18,023 for basketball, 17,800 for ice hockey, and 19,300 for concerts. The price for courtside seats to a Rockets game in the new arena were raised by as much as 50% compared to prices in the team's old home, while upper-deck seat prices were lowered. It has 103 luxury suites and 2,900 club seats (Sections 105-109, Rockets Club West; Sections 118-122, Rockets Club East) which feature upscale concessions, extra wide seats, full private bar featuring premium wine and beverage selections and concierge service. The adjacent 2,500-space Toyota Tundra garage is connected to the arena by a private skybridge that can be accessed by Suite, Court-side and Club Seat holders.
The arena's first event was a Fleetwood Mac concert on October 6, 2003, and the first Rockets game at the Toyota Center was against the Denver Nuggets on October 30. In its first year, the total attendance for events at the arena exceeded 1.5 million. The arena was also the winner of the Allen Award for Civic Enhancement by Central Houston, the "Rookie of the Year" award by the Harlem Globetrotters, and a finalist for Pollstar Magazine’s "Best New Concert Venue" award. The current attendance for a concert held at the arena was set on November 20, 2008, when Metallica played to a sold out crowd during the Death Magnetic tour. The record for a basketball game is 18,583, set on March 26, 2010, when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Rockets 109–101.