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Tariffs Cited as Factor in Rising KeyArena Renovation Cost

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

Tariffs on imported construction materials were a factor in the increase of a KeyArena renovation cost, according to Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke

Seattle’s KeyArena is set to undergo a major renovation, which Oak View Group is hoping to begin this fall and complete in 2020. Once the project is complete, the venue will be up to modern NBA and NHL standards, likely boosting Seattle’s chances of obtaining franchises in those leagues.

It was long anticipated that the privately financed renovation would cost $600 million, but Oak View Group recently revealed that the estimate has risen to $700 million. One of the factors in that increased cost, according to Leiweke, are the tariffs imposed by the administration of President Donald Trump. The tariffs have increased the cost of importing certain construction materials, and Leiweke said in a recent podcast interview the he believes that has had an effect on rising prices from manufacturers within the United States. More from Bloomberg:

The backer of a plan to gut and rebuild Seattle’s KeyArena said tariffs on construction materials such as steel, aluminum and rebar are ratcheting up the tab for the soon-to-be-overhauled venue, which will host an expansion team for the National Hockey League.

“We have seen a rapid inflation on those costs,” Tim Leiweke, chief executive officer of Oak View Group, which is undertaking the project, said on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast released Thursday. “Even when you have manufacturers and suppliers that are within the United States, they know they can charge more now because of the tariffs.”

If the KeyArena renovation proceeds on schedule, the venue could begin hosting an NHL expansion team in the 2020-21 season, provided that an ongoing expansion bid is eventually approved by the league. While the NHL is the more imminent possibility, Seattle is expected to pursue an NBA franchise at some point, filling a void that was created with the move of the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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