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Landmark Status Could be Sought for KeyArena

Washington State Pavilion

KeyArena is expected to be one of seven Seattle Center buildings to receive consideration for landmark status, adding another layer to ongoing redevelopment discussions.

During a meeting on Monday, Seattle City Council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas was informed that landmark status is going to be sought for buildings at Seattle Center. Seattle Center, which was originally conceived for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, contains seven structures for which officials are expected to seek landmark designation, with KeyArena included in that group.

This coming as Seattle continues its process of seeking request for proposals (RFP) for a redevelopment of KeyArena, which could potentially bring the venue up to NHL and NBA standards. With weeks remaining until responses for to RFP are due on April 12, some officials are concerned about what the landmark status could do to the process, while others believe that the prospective bidders could form a plan regardless. More from King5:

Council President Bruce Harrell admitted “I’m not at all pleased with how that sort of plays out,” he said, adding, “We could’ve since we have control of that process, could have submitted that.”

The Historic Landmark designation process could complicate the timing of any KeyArena redevelopment proposal.

According to Lois Maag, of the Department of Neighborhoods, which handles Historic Landmarks, says normally, nomination reviews are done within 3-4 weeks.  The nomination would then go to a public meeting of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, and if the nomination is approved, go to another public meeting 30 to 60 days later.  If the Board signs off again on the designation, it would trigger another process for “controls and incentives”, which runs for another 75 days.  After all that, the Council would need to approve any deal.

“None of those kind of issues are insurmountable that can address that, I don’t think it’s going to hang out there,” said Council member Debora Juarez, who is co-chairing the committee.  “You basically tell the proposer, A, there may be no landmark issues, or B, be prepared with controls and incentives.”

AEG did not immediately respond to the developments.  OVG said, through a spokeperson, they were aware of the historic designation plans.

AEG and Oak View Group are two firms that are expected to submit proposals. In addition to the KeyArena project, the committee is also expected to spend time considering a proposal from Chris Hansen, whose plan calls for constructing a privately-financed arena in the city’s Sodo neighborhood.

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