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Seattle Center Arena Planning Moving Along

Alaska Airlines Atrium Seattle NHL Arena

The elaborate Seattle Center Arena project continues, as Oak View Group moves forward with several steps in planning its venue at the old KeyArena.

Construction on the project, now coming in with an estimated cost of $930 million, is being led and financed by OVG, with the venue to be completed at some point in the summer of 2021. Once construction concludes, the arena will host a Seattle NHL expansion franchise that begins play in the 2021-22 season along with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

At the construction site, there should be some major milestones soon. The project calls for leaving KeyArena’s distinguished and historic roofline intact, while digging 15 feet below the floor and widening the base of the venue. This will result in more interior space and modern facilities under the original roof. In the current part of the construction process, the 44-million-pound roof is being supported by 70 columns and a large kickstand beam to allow work to take place underneath. The roof will be reattached as construction unfolds, beginning either later this month or in early March, according to an update two weeks ago from OVG construction executive Ken Johnsen.

Although construction is a crucial part of the planning process, OVG officials are doing plenty of work away from the site to prepare for the venue. The firm announced the appointments of Eric Bresler as Senior Vice President of Programming, Tom Conroy as Vice President of Operations, and Rosemary Selle as Vice President of Marketing on Monday, filling several leadership positions. In addition, work continues to secure corporate sponsorships. This will likely see the sponsorship team led by OVG CEO Tim Leiweke land an arena naming-rights partner later in the planning process, with the more immediate focus on the smaller profile—but still lucrative—founding partnerships. Any future partnerships will help build off of those already announced, including an agreement that featured naming rights to Alaska Airlines Atrium and a few others. More from the Seattle Times:

OVG is said to want $4 million to $6 million annually for founding partnerships, such as those done with Symetra, Virginia Mason and Alaska Airlines. Sources also say OVG is in final negotiations with Verizon on a coveted technology founding partnership that’s taken longer because of the volume of competing bidders.

Leiweke said last week he had shifted from prioritizing naming rights.

“There is an order to what we plan to do,” he said, adding that naming rights come last. “Like everything we’re doing with this arena, we are taking our time to do it right and think about things differently.”

Going forward, look for more certain details to emerge relating to both arena construction and the Seattle NHL franchise. OVG could release a more exact estimated completion date at some point in the coming months, providing a better sense of when the arena will open for the first time. Additionally, the NHL franchise will be releasing its highly anticipated branding—including name, logo and color scheme—at some point in the future.

Plans call for the arena to be used for a wide variety of events in addition to NHL and WNBA action, including concerts. 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 NHL Seattle.

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