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KeyArena Renovation Gets City Council Approval

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

The KeyArena renovation project is moving forward, as the Seattle City Council has granted final approval to lease and development agreements. 

The Oak View Group is moving forward with a privately financed $700 million renovation to KeyArena. Under the current time frame, the renovation could be completed in 2020 and is slated to raise the venue to modern NBA and NHL standards. The effort to land an NHL expansion team for the venue is underway, as billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are leading a bid that is working to gain approval from the league.

A city council committee had approved the project earlier this month, setting the stage for Monday’s city council vote. Ultimately, the council granted approval by an 8-0 margin. More from the Seattle Times:

“We’re starting a new day here in the city and a new partnership,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez, who chaired the council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas.

The agreement passed 8-0. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda was absent….

Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke told the council Monday the deal would “create a world-class arena and ultimately add another huge point of destination in [Seattle Center].”

This represents a major step forward for the renovation. Once the construction work is completed, the arena is expected to be a potential draw for NBA and NHL franchises. With an NHL expansion bid already in progress, a team in that league is a more imminent possibility for Seattle than the NBA. However, there is interest in eventually obtaining an NBA team to fill a void created by the move of the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.

The NHL expansion bid will be discussed during an October 2 meeting that includes the NHL Seattle group, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, and the NHL executive committee. It has been anticipated that the NHL expansion bid could be considered and ultimately approved by the league’s board of governors in December, with the 2020-21 season being the earliest that the team would begin play. That date is not finalized, however, and more certainty should emerge if/when the expansion bid is approved.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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