The Oak View Group believes it could renovate KeyArena on a three or four-year schedule, according to CEO Tim Leiweke.
The Oak View Group is one of the firms connected to a potential renovation of KeyArena. Seattle has already issued its request for proposals (RFP) on the project, and has set a deadline of April 12 for the responses.
As the city looks at its long-term arena options, another prominent plan in place comes from developer Chris Hansen, who has proposed a privately-financed venue in Sodo. In February, Hansen’s group outlined the case for its proposal, which calls for the vacation of a section of South Occidential Avenue, claiming that the “Key Arena renovation plan will take 5-7 years to complete. Our plan, on the other hand, can be ready to go quickly with the street vacation. This puts the city in the best position to take advantage of any franchise opportunities.”
Leiweke, during a recent meeting with The Seattle Times editorial board, sought to counter that claim. Oak View believes that, depending on the circumstances, it could complete a KeyArena renovation on a three or four-year schedule, which might line up nicely for the NHL. More from The Seattle Times:
Leiweke said he’s assuming the NHL likely would come to Seattle ahead of NBA and that his group’s KeyArena time frame is “perfect’’ given the league’s recent expansion process with the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
“We believe it’s going to take three or four years, preferably three,’’ Leiweke said. “We’re prepared to do it in three, but we understand that entitlement may take longer than a year.
“But we believe it’s three years,’’ he added. “We believe that there is no franchise today in the National Hockey League or in the National Basketball Association that is in danger of being lost as an opportunity over the next few years. And we believe that should (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman make a decision to expand, that if you look at the last process they just went through, it was a three- to four-year process to get that building built and to get that (Las Vegas) team up and running this next season.”
There are still some parts of the process that will take time to play out over the next few months. In the case of the KeyArena proposals, interested firms will have to submit their bids by the deadline, while the city has previously announced that a recommendation will be delivered to mayor Ed Murray in late June.
Leiweke added that Oak View would cover the renovation, and eventual operating and maintenance expenses without the use of public funds. AEG is also expected to be among the firms that submits a bid for a KeyArena renovation.