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Draft EIS Released for KeyArena Renovation

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

A draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed KeyArena renovation has been released, marking a key step in the process. 

Oak View Group is moving forward with its plan for a $600-million renovation to KeyArena. When complete, the overhaul will bring the venue to modern NBA and NHL standards, perhaps helping Seattle land teams in both leagues. The plan calls for work on the 24-month renovation to begin this fall and wrap up in October 2020, in time for the arena to accommodate an NHL expansion franchise.

One of the key steps in that process is the completion of the EIS, which considers a variety of issues surrounding the project, including impact from its construction and the arena’s effects on traffic. The draft EIS has been released, kicking off a 45-day review period, with the final report expected to be issued by August. That timeline is key for Oak View Group and the ongoing NHL expansion process, as backers of the franchise are hoping to receive provisional approval in June while construction at KeyArena would begin in October. More from The Seattle Times:

The NHL is expected to provisionally grant an expansion franchise to Seattle at its board of governors meeting in June pending the outcome of other issues, including the environmental impact process. If things proceed as planned with the environmental review and a Seattle Hockey Partners group run by billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer pays the league a $650 million franchise fee, the new team would be officially approved by the fall.

According to the draft EIS, OVG plans around-the clock construction seven days per week to meet that October 2020 opening date. Five Seattle Center-area buildings and a skate park are to be demolished, parts of nearby streets would be closed for two years, and general noise and inconvenience would be caused.

The WNBA’s Seattle Storm would play its home games at the University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena, the Tacoma Dome or one of the region’s other arenas during the renovation. The Seattle University men’s basketball team would play at the 900-plus-seat Connolly Center on its campus.

The renovation would more than double KeyArena’s footprint to 750,000 interior square feet and allow it to host between 242 and 257 events per year instead of the current 100 or so.

As noted, the proposed KeyArena renovation is slated to result in the venue being suitable to modern NBA and NHL standards. The NHL appears to be Seattle’s most imminent possibility, but the return of the NBA has been sought by many in the city since the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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