Category Archives: News

Community Funding, Public Bonds Discussed for KeyArena Renovation

By Chris Daniels

The City of Seattle may need to float a bond to pay for a KeyArena transportation fund to fulfill a $660 million proposal to renovate the site.

That was one of the key questions raised during a lengthy review of the tentative agreement, between the Oak View Group (OVG) and City of Seattle.

OVG agreed on the deal with Seattle’s Office of Economic Development to build a $600 million arena at the current KeyArena site last week. It still needs Seattle City Council approval to proceed.

The agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), also lays out $20 million for a community fund and a $40 million transportation fund. OVG has agreed to pay for it all with private money.

But on Monday, upon questioning from Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson, the key negotiators mentioned a wrinkle: Seattle may have to bond against the fund.

City Budget Director Ben Noble acknowledged the MOU only calls for OVG to make payments of roughly $1 million a year over 39 years.

“We could, as a city, choose to bond against that,” Noble said. “So current present value basis, it’s 20 million dollars.”

Transportation questions ruled the long briefing. However, the council is expected to drill down on the financing as well.

OVG has offered to cover cost overruns and displacement bills for current tenants. It has also agreed to spend more than $168 million in capital improvement costs to vest two extensions at the site.

OVG believes it can open in the building in September of 2020.  That timeline works for a potential NHL franchise to call Seattle home.

Council chambers were packed with mostly supportive people, including groups who operate out of Seattle Center. Pottery Northwest, in particular, was initially worried about the development. However, their Executive Director James Lobb told the council he’d been encouraged by the discussions with OVG.  Pottery Northwest’s building was slated to be torn down in the arena development. However, OVG has agreed to temporarily relocate the business during construction and put it back in its historic building.

Only a pair of people testified in support of the SoDo Arena project, which, technically, has an agreement with the city that expires in December.

The council is slated to have at least three more meetings on the topic — October 10 and November 16.  The Council could vote on the MOU as early as December 4 or after the SoDo deal expires.

OVG’s Lance Lopes issued a statement after the meeting, expressing optimism.

“We applaud the City of Seattle for its open, collaborative and transparent approach to determining an exciting future for the New Arena at Seattle Center. Today’s meeting in City Council chambers reaffirmed our belief in the broad support for this project as evidenced by the strong turnout. Our team at OVG has been building arenas in communities around the world for nearly 40 years. We’ve seen a lot over four decades – and learned a lot too. We remain laser focused on our project and our partnership with the community, the Uptown, South Lake Union, Queen Anne and Belltown neighborhoods, and the City of Seattle. We will continue to aggressively pursue an NHL franchise, the return of the NBA, and through our close collaboration with Live Nation, make the New Arena at Seattle Center a globally-relevant live music destination.

“The path we’re on with the City, the community and each of our partners is the path we all want for Seattle: A future with a vibrant new arena that’s home to professional hockey, basketball and the biggest concerts and live events on earth. And today we’re one step closer to making that future a reality.”

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TONIGHT: Uptown Rezone and Design Review at SIFF

By Laura Fonda

The Seattle City Council is hosting a special public meeting tomorrow, Monday, September 11th at SIFF Uptown. The meeting will cover two major topics: the Uptown Rezone and changes to the Design Review process. The meeting is open to all, it begins at 5:30pm at SIFF (511 Queen Anne Ave N).

The Uptown Rezone seeks to increase building heights in Uptown/Lower Queen Anne. Per the agenda, the meeting will includes 90 minutes for a presentation and discussion of the Uptown Rezone.

The second part of the meeting includes 120 minutes for a briefing and public hearing on proposed changes to the Design Review Process.

The latest maps for the Uptown Rezone are below. You can also read the latest on the plan here, and bring your questions and concerns to tomorrow’s public meeting at SIFF:

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Former Seattle Children’s Home Site to be Named McGraw Square at Queen Anne

It’s been a year since the last update about the project to develop the former Seattle Children’s Home site into townhomes, and now the first look at the final designs has been released. The community will be called McGraw Square at Queen Anne.

Ground has been broken and construction is underway at the project between 9th and 10th Avenues West on West McGraw Street. The site will have 57 townhomes within the 15 three story buildings on the lot. The homes will each have three bedrooms and a garage that fits two vehicles. Some of the townhomes will even have the luxury of a rooftop deck.

Pricing is anticipated to start at $900,000, with pre-sales opening in fall 2017.

Joint Effort to Develop a New Memorial Stadium and High School

The City of Seattle has signed a letter of collaboration with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to construct a new Memorial Stadium in its present location within the Seattle Center, as well as developing a new high school nearby.

The focus of the collaborative project will be to meet SPS’ needs for a new high school, new Memorial Stadium to support the school, and maintained or increased parking. The City and SPS will work together on site planning, design features for continued shared uses, maintenance of public access and activation, technology, construction activities, mobility planning for transportation, parking, public engagement, and more.

SPS currently owns two parcels of land within Seattle Center, and while the stadium will remain in its present location, the high school could be located at an alternative site. However, the new school will most likely remain in the Queen Anne/Uptown neighborhood, which will relieve a lot of pressure from Ballard High School and Garfield High School, where local high schoolers currently attend.

According to the letter, “We are pleased that our teams will be working together in this arrangement and look forward to achieving the full potential and extraordinary outcomes for our respective projects.”

A current map of the Seattle Center: