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KeyArena Renovation Group Seeks State Tax Deferrals

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

The KeyArena renovation group is seeking a three-year sales tax deferral of $80-$90 million, with the deferral covering three projects.

Oak View Group is financing the work that is currently taking place at KeyArena, construction that will dramatically change the facility by leaving the arena’s distinguished roof line intact while digging down to create more interior space and modern facilities. That will effectively provide an environment fitted to modern NBA and NHL standards, and allow the venue to begin hosting an NHL expansion squad in the 2021-22 season.

As construction work continues, project officials are lobbying state lawmakers to approve a three-year sales tax deferral for a trio of projects: the arena, an associated parking garage, and a separate training facility at Northgate in Seattle. Such deferrals have been a common economic development tool in Washington State, and similar sales tax construction deferrals were provided to other sports facility projects in the past–including the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field and Mariners’ T-Mobile Park. In the case of the arena and related projects, the plan is to pay the back the deferral with interest between 2022 and 2030. More from King 5:

“It’s a mirror image of what they did on the baseball stadium and the football stadium,” [Oak View Group Chairman Tim] Leiweke told KING 5. “This is all private and all we’re doing here is living within the precedent that they’ve created on these facilities, although ours is unique because it’s the private sector that is paying for this.”

He stressed, “We’re paying taxes on everything, we’re going to pay all the taxes on the arena, all the taxes on the parking garage, and all of taxes on the training center, and we’re going to wrap all of this in, so it’s between, the project as a whole, we’re at a $1.7 billion including the hockey team, and the purchase of the hockey team, so this is on the construction side of the equation and if you look at the straight construction it’s about $925 million we’re spending privately to build all three facilities.”

Leiweke says his company is trying to finalize the legislation by February 15, which he says is the date the city should finalize financing and other agreements. There has already been work done inside the existing KeyArena on the $850 million arena project. But, he says, based on the timing of the legislative session, this is the first time his group has had a chance to talk with lawmakers.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the KeyArena project was held in December. The plan is to finish construction on the venue in early 2021, with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm returning to the facility that same year.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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