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KeyArena RFP to be Issued on Wednesday

Seattle Sonics

On Wednesday, the City of Seattle is expected to issue a request for proposal (RFP) on a major renovation to KeyArena, setting one of its arena options into motion. 

There are two prominent plans on the table for a new or renovated arena in Seattle, which is vying for an NBA and/or NHL franchise. One is to renovate KeyArena, which has attracted the interest of several firms, including AEG and the Oak View Group. The other proposal comes from developer Chris Hansen, who is continuing his pursuit of a brand new arena in the city’s Sodo neighborhood, and has offered to privately finance the project.

What happens after the RFP is issued should provide some indicators of which direction Seattle chooses. Hansen is expected to present his full proposal to city in the near future, and responses to the RFP are due on April 12. While numerous questions will remain in the balance over the coming months, Seattle officials are indicating that they do not envision the city supporting two major arenas. More from the Union-Bulletin:

But Mayor Ed Murray has said the city won’t decide anything on the Sodo plan until it first reviews any KeyArena offers. The city plans to have only one major arena — a revamped KeyArena or a new Sodo venue — once the process is complete.

By setting the mid-April deadline, the city could pick one of the KeyArena offers or opt for the Sodo plan come summer. That should line up with the earliest point the NBA is expected to announce any formal expansion process and would allow Seattle to participate in the bidding for franchises.

OVG president and CEO Tim Leiweke has said his group plans a “stand alone” facility to accommodate concerts at KeyArena, but the venue would be convertible for NBA and NHL if teams become available. Leiweke said his group also plans all-private construction and would participate in a leasing arrangement with the arena, which would continue to be city-owned.

AEG has yet to unveil details about its financing plans.

It will still take months to sort out the particulars of both options, but it now seems that at some point this year, Seattle will decide where its future lies when it comes to the development of a major arena.

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