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KeyArena Renovation General Contractor Switch Considered

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group hockey

No final decision has been made yet, but project officials are reportedly considering a switch in the general contractor for the renovation to Seattle’s KeyArena

Oak View Group is leading and financing the major overhaul of KeyArena, which is being raised to modern NBA and NHL standards and will begin hosting an NHL expansion squad in 2021. Skanska Hunt, a joint venture between the firms Shanska and AECOM Hunt, was initially chosen in July as the KeyArena renovation general contractor. However, reports have surfaced that project officials are mulling a change in the general contractor in favor of M.A. Mortenson Co.

The KeyArena overhaul was at one point estimated to cost $600 million and be completed in the fall of 2020, but a few things have changed along the way. An early 2021 completion is now being targeted, while the price tag has risen several times and could now be upwards of $850 million. With that, officials are considering a switch to M.A. Mortenson once the hard construction part of the process begins in January. A final decision on the potential switch has not been made, but for project officials one of the key questions is whether Shanska Hunt can complete the ambitious project on a time frame that allows the arena to reopen in early 2021. More from the Seattle Times:

OVG construction executive Ken Johnsen, brought on in early November to review progress on the renovation plans, has spoken with general contractor Skanska Hunt to see whether it is indeed confident it can meet what’s still an aggressive completion timeline. If not, OVG would opt to go with Kirkland-based M.A. Mortenson Co. once hard construction begins as scheduled next month.

“One of the really good things is both of these firms are ready to go,’’ Johnsen said Saturday, adding that a final decision has yet to be made.

Mortenson did pre-construction work around the KeyArena site in the first part of the year before Skanska Hunt – a joint venture between the Swedish-based Skanska construction giant and the AECOM Hunt architectural and engineering firm – was named general contractor in July. For now, preliminary work at the site – launched by a groundbreaking ceremony last Wednesday — is being handled by project developer OVG but will shift to harder construction come January.

Rumors have swirled that Skanska Hunt was leaving the project ever since the NHL last week delayed the expected October 2020 launch of the new hockey team by 12 months. In citing the need for a delay, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expressed doubts the project would finish on time so the team could open the first part of the 2020-21 season at home.

The biggest target for the construction schedule as of now would be the beginning of the 2021 WNBA season that spring, as the Seattle Storm are set to return to the arena once its overhaul is complete. The Storm and the NHL expansion squad are slated to be the two main sports tenants at the modernized arena, with the NBA likely to be desired down the road.

The KeyArena renovation is elaborate in scope. The construction process calls for leaving the arena’s distinguished roof line intact, while digging down to create more interior space and modern facilities.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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