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.