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Seattle Arena Project on Schedule

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group

Construction on the Seattle Arena project remains on schedule for a summer 2021 completion, as Oak View Group continues overseeing elaborate work at the old KeyArena.

The $930 million construction project led and financed by Oak View Group is notable in its scope. It calls for leaving KeyArena’s distinguished roof line intact, while digging 15 feet below the floor and widening the base of the venue, resulting in more interior space and modern facilities under the original roof.

On Monday, OVG officials provided an update on the project. Construction remains on schedule for an anticipated summer 2021 completion, and its price tag is still expected to come in around $930 million. As for the construction process itself, the interior grandstands have been demolished, while the roof—which weighs 44-million pounds—is being held into place by dozens of steel supports.

For the time being, an exact target completion date is not being set, but OVG officials indicate that the project is moving along and that they could have a clearer sense of exactly when construction will conclude next spring. More from The Seattle Times

“We’re going to set that in early spring,’’ OVG construction executive Ken Johnsen told reporters after the tour. “You just walked through that building with us. There’s work to be done to get all the way down to the bottom. Once in early spring we see where we are and everything’s on-track with that we can set a target date.’’

The building would need to be ready by June 2021 for the Seattle Storm to begin their regular season there on time and also to play host to the NHL draft. The league is prepared to wait until next June to make a final call on that.

The interior grandstands within the arena as well as adjacent smaller buildings have now been demolished as crews continue pushing back several tons of dirt ahead of further excavation. The plan is to dig an additional 15 feet below the current arena floor — roughly 60 feet below street level — and then spread the base of the arena wider to encompass more than 800,000 square feet.

For now, the 44-million-pound roof is being held up by a series of temporary steel support beams along the outer rim and a larger steel shoring beam directly in its center. All told, about half the 72 support beams needed for the project are currently in place while the remainder are expected to be in by year’s end.

The latest news represents the most notable update in months for a project that has had a few changes along the way in terms of estimated cost and completion. Initially pitched by OVG as a $600-million project, the estimated cost jumped to $850 million before being placed at the current figure earlier this year. Additionally, when construction began in December, project officials were hoping that work would be completed in the spring of 2021, only to reveal in April that construction would not be completed as early as anticipated, with the goal being a summer 2021 completion.

Once it is completed, the arena will be home to an NHL expansion franchise set to begin play in 2021 along with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. It is also being designed to accommodate an NBA franchise, making it a potential home should Seattle eventually be able to secure its first team in the league since the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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