The iconic Pepsi Coliseum, Indianapolis, is getting a $53 million redo.

By one architect’s count, there are 80 aging arenas on fairgrounds that once functioned as the center of entertainment in town. Pushed aside by flashy new National Basketball Association and National Hockey League 15,000-seat-plus palaces, most of those arenas are now used to far less than potential.

Charlie Smith, Populous, would like to change that scenario. The showcase example for his firm of what can be...

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