Pepsi Center was constructed as part of a large six-year sporting venue upgrade in Denver along with Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, and Broncos Stadium at Mile High (formerly Invesco Field at Mile High), home of the Denver Broncos. The complex was constructed to be readily accessible. The arena is situated at Speer Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in downtown Denver, and is served by 2 nearby exits off Interstate 25. A light rail station is on the western side of the complex.
Ground was broken for the arena on November 20, 1997, on the 4.6-acre (19,000 m2) site. Its completion in October 1999 was marked by a Celine Dion concert. Also included in the complex are a basketball practice facility used by the Nuggets, and the Breckenridge Brewery Mountain House, a restaurant accessible from within and outside the Center itself. The atrium of the building houses a suspended sculpture depicting various hockey and basketball athletes in action poses.
Before the construction of Pepsi Center, the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche played in McNichols Sports Arena, a building that has since been torn down to serve as a parking lot for nearby Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Coincidentally, prior to the Avalanche relocating to Denver, the then-Quebec Nordiques played at another arena to which Pepsi owned naming rights: the Colisée Pepsi.