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Project Officials: Seattle Arena Cost Increases Will Not be Covered by Public

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

Cost increases in the Seattle arena project will not be covered by public money, NHL Seattle and Oak View Group officials stressed during a city council meeting Monday.

A project led and financed by Oak View Group is taking place at KeyArena, where construction crews will leave the venue’s distinguished roof line intact while digging down 15 feet to create more interior space and modern facilities. When the venue is completed in 2021, it will host an NHL expansion franchise along with the WNBA’s Storm, and have the features needed to accommodate an NBA franchise should one eventually land in Seattle.

Over the course of the planning process, the project’s price tag has increased, most recently to the range of $900-$930 million. That is up from the $850 million floated earlier this year and well above the initial $600 million estimate.

To addressed concerns that any potential future increases would have to be covered by taxpayers, officials from Oak View Group and Seattle NHL stressed to the council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas that all increases will be paid for privately. More from

One fact was made clear at numerous points throughout the committee meeting: That the ever-inflating costs will not fall to Seattle’s taxpayers, and that if the price tag were to go up again, “the city would be protected.” On the hook instead would be the developers and private investors involved in the renovation project.

NHL Seattle President Leiweke and OVG construction executive Ken Johnson provided insight into why costs have risen over the last year, noting that the new arena will have double the square footage.

Much of that added space will be underground to a support a “solid back-of-house,” Johnson described.

Construction at KeyArena is slated to conclude ahead of the 2021-22 NHL season, with project officials targeting a completion by summer 2021, in time to host games for the Storm. Design plans calls for the arena to feature a capacity of 17,300 for hockey and 18,600 for basketball.

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