With discussions of a prospective KeyArena renovation unfolding, Seattle officials have opened the venue’s doors to interested firms.
Earlier this month, Seattle kicked off its often discussed initiative of exploring a KeyArena renovation by issuing a request for proposal (RFP). Two high profile firms–AEG and the Oak View Group–have expressed an interest in the project.
While there is still much time left between now and the April 12 deadline, the tour was held earlier this week. It was intended as a way to give prospective developers a glimpse into the arena–which Seattle wants to overhaul to modern NBA and NHL standards. More from the Seattle Post-Intellegencer:
City officials and others have admitted they still don’t know if KeyArena can be remodeled into an arena that would meet the minimum guidelines for both the NBA and the NHL, though a 2015 report prepared by Seattle engineering firm AECOM suggested it was possible. In interviews following the announcement of the RFP in October, representatives from both The Oak View Group and AEG both said they believe the arena can be redone to attract an NBA or NHL team and on the existing footprint.
Lance Lopes, a former University of Washington and Seattle Seahawks executive who now serves as The Oak View Group’s director of special projects, was present at the site on Wednesday, as were at least four representatives from AEG.
The tour likely did little to sway the groups interested in sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into any potential project, but it did give them a chance to “understand the facility in a more intimate way,” according to Surratt. Of particular concern is the way the main arena building is connected to other buildings and nested into the Seattle Center campus.
Many more factors about the KeyArena site need to be addressed, including the cost of a project and whether the venue would be renovated or demolished to make room for a new facility. Seattle officials also still have the option of an arena in Sodo, a project that developer Chris Hansen is hoping to bring back to the forefront of discussions by offering private financing. The city has said that it wants private financing for any KeyArena project, though the city would continue to own the site.
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