Category Archives: General News

KeyArena Revamp Bids to be Reviewed at May 11th Open House

By Joe Veyera

The two groups to respond to the city’s request for proposals to redevelop KeyArena will take part in an open house later this month just steps from the multipurpose venue.

Representatives from the Oak View Group and Seattle Partners (a group comprised of AEG and Hudson Pacific Partnership) will be on hand at KEXP (472 1st Ave. N. on May 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. to discuss their plans for the site, and answer questions.

Both proposals peg the cost of a KeyArena renovation to meet NBA and NHL standards at north of $500 million, while expanding the seating capacity to hold more than 17,000 spectators for hockey, and 18,000 for basketball, and preserving the iconic roofline designed by modernist architect Paul Thiry. Where the plans differ is how they each use the footprint, and how they address traffic and transit concerns.

The proposal from the Oak View Group would primarily consist of below-grade expansion, while the Seattle Partners bid calls for extending the existing arena roofline further to the south to add space.

The Oak View Group plan includes an 850-stall parking garage, and proposes offering bundled tickets to events with mass transit or rideshare programs, along with exploring the creation of designated drop-off and pick-up locations for services like Lyft and Uber. Renovation groups have additional strategies for dealing with concerns for parking and transportation.

Meanwhile, Seattle Partners would invest $5 million “to accelerate existing transportation strategies around the arena, and to create a shared mobility hub,” adjacent to it, while investing in the Lake2Bay Corridor.

Recommendations will be presented to the Mayor in June, with the input of the Arena Community Advisory Panel comprised of community leaders, and the City’s Executive Review Team. If the mayor moves forward with one of the two proposals, the City Council would then vote on a development and lease agreement with the winning bidder.

“This is the moment we have all been waiting for. We have two strong proposals to consider,” said Brian Surratt, Director of the Office of Economic Development in a press release last month. “We take this responsibility seriously and understand the sense of urgency for sports and music fans. The City remains committed to choosing the best possible path to bring back the NBA and to bring the NHL to Seattle.”

It’s currently unclear when construction could start. Last month, KeyArena was awarded first- and second-round NCAA men’s basketball tournament games in 2019, pushing the timeline past at least that March. The Oak View Group plan calls for a 19-month timeline to complete design drawings, and secure discretionary approvals and construction permits, along with a 20-month building timeline.

Syndicated from the QueenAnneNews.com. Photo source: The Seattle Times

City Announces Next Steps on Backyard Cottage Proposal

By Joe Veyera

Months after the hearing examiner ruled in favor of the Queen Anne Community Council in their appeal of a proposal to ease regulations on building backyard cottages and mother-in-law units, the city has announced its next steps on the issue.

In a blog post late last month, Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien wrote that after a “thorough examination” of the decision, the city will pursue a full environmental impact statement to look deeply into the potential impacts of code changes.

In the post, O’Brien said the EIS process will likely take a year to complete, and that there will be multiple opportunities for residents to voice their opinions during that period.

O’Brien originally introduced a proposal last year that would have allowed properties to have both an attached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU) on the same lot, removed the off-street parking requirement, removed the owner-occupancy requirement after one year, reduced the minimum lot size for a DADU to 3,200 sq. ft., and increased the allowable floor area for a DADU from 800 to 1,000 sq. ft. Opponents of the proposal raised concerns that the potential environmental impacts weren’t adequately studied, and the hearing examiner ruled that the city’s determination of non-significance in relation to the State Environmental Policy Act was not based on sufficient information to evaluate potential impacts. Meanwhile, proponents of the original effort labeled the Community Council’s efforts as obstructionist, something they firmly denied.

The hope, O’Brien wrote, is to bring legislation to the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee by the middle of the next year.

“I believe lowering the barriers to creating backyard cottages and in-law apartments is an important part of addressing affordability across the city, and am looking forward to continuing to pursue this legislation,” O’Brien wrote in the post.

Syndicated from QueenAnneNews.com. Photo source.

Sinkhole Opens in Queen Anne

Many Seattleites fear ‘the really big one’, a projected 8.7 – 9.2 magnitude earthquake that could hit the Puget Sound and northern West Coast at anytime. But fewer of us realize the danger of the earth opening up beneath our very feet! Sinkholes are a very real danger in Seattle, and can happen without warning and at small to terrifying sizes. Just a year and a half ago, a large hole suddenly opened up between two homes on Queen Anne. And last month, a recycling truck was stuck in a West Seattle sinkhole near 24th Avenue SW and SE Kenyon S.

Only a couple of weeks ago, another sinkhole opened up on Queen Anne in the middle of 5th Avenue. It was three feet wide and required the closure 5th Avenue between West Comstock Street and West Highland Drive in order for Seattle Public Utilities to repair it.

In Seattle’s history, sinkholes have trapped cars and even people, although there have been no casualties. Sinkholes have been a ‘thing’ throughout the city over the past year, and not just because of the drilling caused by Bertha, the drilling machine that’s tunneling below Belltown to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Why does the city get these sinkholes? Seattle soil isn’t characterized by karst terrain, the type of rock that commonly develops sinkholes. Instead, our sinkholes are caused by aging water and sewer systems underground. According to U.S. Geological Survey geologist Randall Orndorff, “Since these systems are pipes, they act like caves in the natural setting—a void beneath the surface.”

Featured photo source: Q13fox.com

Expect Additional Traffic at the Seattle Center Today for Starbucks Shareholders Meeting

There will be lots of traffic around Seattle Center and McCaw Hall Wednesday morning when people start showing up for the Starbucks shareholders meeting.

The Seattle Department of Transportation said drivers should expect heavy traffic because of the meeting and on-going construction projects in the area.

Expect traffic volumes to be higher than usual heading into and around Lower Queen Anne.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. Wednesday, but doors open at 8 a.m. About 2,700 people are expected to attend.

There will be extra traffic heading out of the neighborhood from noon to 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, Howard Schultz will attend his last shareholders meeting as the company’s CEO.

Schultz announced he was stepping down in December.

Starbucks chief operating officer Kevin Johnson will become the new CEO on April 3.

Schultz will move to the role of executive chairman.

Syndicated from KIRO 7 News. Featured photo source: Wikipedia Commons.