Seattle issues request for proposals for KeyArena redevelopment

Date: 30 Jan 2017

Dive Brief:

  • Seattle has issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the aging KeyArena at Seattle Center, according to the Seattle Times.
  • The city has indicated that the new facility could host either an NBA or NHL team, and potential developers must secure their own construction financing and agree to a lease for the city-owned property exchange for revenue from naming rights, sponsorships, ticket sales and other income streams.
  • The historic status of the facility most likely precludes a demolition, so the city informed potential developers that they must plan for a renovation that retains the existing roof and main structure. According to the Times, however, there is an outside chance, albeit unlikely, that the winning developer could obtain approval to raze the building.

Dive Insight:

The KeyArena is currently home to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and Seattle University men’s basketball team, the Seattle Redhawks. The venue also hosts a variety of concerts and other entertainment events throughout the year. However, since the NBA’s SuperSonics left the city in 2008, city officials reportedly have been eager to lure another professional men’s basketball or hockey team to Seattle.

Thus far, two major Los Angeles-based development companies have previously expressed interest in providing a bid — Anschutz Entertainment Group and the Oak View Group — according to the Times.

Seattle is the latest to join the string of cities looking to cash in on the allure of sporting events with modern stadiums and arenas. The Golden State Warriors recently got the go ahead for a new $1 billion San Francisco basketball arena after a protracted legal battle with local advocacy groups that objected to construction so close to nearby hospitals. On a smaller scale, the city of Atlanta agreed to pay the bulk of a $192.5 million renovation to Philips Arena in order to keep the Atlanta Hawks from a possible relocation.

One of the most high-profile arena developments, however, is currently under construction in Detroit. Red Wings owners, the Ilitch family, have sunk more than $1.2 billion into an arena complex in downtown Detroit that will see retail, residential and hotel developments, in addition to a state-of-the-art sports venue that is estimated to cost between $627.5 million and $732.6 million. The Ilitch family and developers have said their goal is to create an entire district around the new hockey arena and revitalize the area.


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