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Seattle Center Arena Plans Taking Shape

National Hockey League

Planning for the Seattle Center Arena project is taking shape, as officials provided an update Tuesday on the work that is unfolding at KeyArena

An $850 million project led and financed by Oak View Group will lead to a new Seattle NHL expansion team, along with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, beginning play at a Seattle Center Arena in 2021. To accomplish this, work is taking place at KeyArena on a project that will preserve its distinguished roof line while digging down 15 feet to create more interior space and modern facilities, with the finished product designed to modern NBA and NHL standards.

During an event on Tuesday night, project officials offered a few details on the facility, which is estimated to be 800,000 square feet when completed. It was also revealed that some changes have been made since previous designs were unveiled, as the arena’s atrium is now going to be smaller than what was originally expected. More from King 5:

The size of the project is roughly doubling the current KeyArena footprint.

There has already been work done inside the existing KeyArena bowl, and heavy machinery is now staging outside the existing building. The new arena is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021.

Geoff Cheong, the lead project designer for Populous, said there have been other tweaks to the design. The grand atrium will be smaller than originally planned, as to not overtake the historic roof. The loading dock entrance will be “53 feet below grade,” according to Cheong.

Jeff Sawarynski, the Senior Principal with ME engineers, joked “Day one, I don’t know how I’m going to do this,” but said behind the scenes there had been significant attention to detail.

Ground was broken for the Seattle Center Arena project in December, shortly after the NHL Board of Governors granted formal approval for a Seattle expansion franchise to begin play in the 2021-22 season. At its current pace, the construction work is expected to finish in the spring of 2021.

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