Ten years after terminating the Seattle Sonics’ KeyArena lease, the Seattle City Council has approved Oak View Group’s $700 million renovation by a 8-0 vote. The approval allows Oak View Group to move forward with their project, part of which includes acquiring an NHL franchise.
NHL Seattle is scheduled to make their presentation at an NHL executive committee meeting on October 2. Should everything go well, the league could imply that a franchise will be awarded to Seattle at a vote by the board of governors in December. Demolition of the existing KeyArena cannot begin until an NHL franchise is awarded.
OVG’s Time Leiweke addressed the council prior to the vote reiterating that NHL approval should be between now and December. He also added that their team will “push aggressively” for an NBA team to join the prospective NHL franchise and 2018 WNBA champions, Seattle Storm, at KeyArena.
Skanska-Hunt, a joint venture between Skanska and AECOM Hunt, will serve as the general contractor for the renovation. The demolition and excavation work are expected to take eight-months. Through this process Skanska-Hunt will retain the arena’s roofline by propping it up and working under it. They will also be mining a new tunnel for an underground loading dock which will also help move a number of construction vehicles off the street once completed.
The renovation is set to double the venue’s current square footage and meet both the NBA and NHL arena standards for bringing a new team to the city. The arena’s main entrance will be relocated from 1st Avenue North to Thomas Street.
KeyArena’s last event will take place on Friday, October 5, where former-Sonic, Kevin Durant, will return to Seattle as the Golden State Warriors take on the Sacramento Kings in NBA preseason action.
When asked about returning to Seattle on October 5, Kevin Durant said “it means a lot… It was very devastating how we up and left in the middle of the night and I know those fans have been yearning for basketball for a long, long time.”
Seattle Center will remain open during this two-year renovation stretch. OVG will contribute $500,000 into a “Seattle Center Open for Business” branding campaign. OVG will take over control of KeyArena on October 16 with it slated to reopen fall 2020.