Seattle to consider $660M privately financed KeyArena upgrade
Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify that the Seattle City Council must now consider the memorandum of understanding signed between former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and developer Oak View Group.
- An agreement between former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and developer Oak View Group (OVG) for a $660 million, privately financed renovation of the city's KeyArena is headed to the City Council for consideration, according to KING5.
- In exchange for a 39-year lease, OVG would pay base rent equaling the revenue the arena currently gives to the city. The deal would let OVG extend the lease if it signs an NHL or NBA team and can promise $168 million in capital improvements, according to SB Nation.
- The developer has promised $40 million to improve transportation in the area as well as a $20 million contribution to the community fund. OVG would also pay for the project's cost overruns and operations.
Landing a professional sports team often is the determining factor for just how viable a stadium project will be. That's especially true for new construction projects, though that success is not always a done deal.
In 1995, St. Louis spent $258 million in public money on a stadium to draw the Rams from Los Angeles. While they were successful, maintaining the Edward Jones Dome was costly and St. Louis's shrinking tax base wasn't much help in filling the stands or providing alternative sources of funding. The expected $6 million cut of game-day taxes turned out to be only $4.8 million, meaning the city had to make up the difference.
When franchise owner E. Stanley Kroenke wanted a bigger stadium, a loophole in the team's contract allowed him to look elsewhere for it. That sent the team back to Los Angeles, where Kroenke owned a tract of land in the city’s Inglewood neighborhood. (Though St. Louis put up a new deal to try to keep the team, it was unsuccessful.)
That land is in the process of being turned into the 300-acre, mixed-use L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District. In addition to the Rams’ new $2.6 billion stadium, which it will share with the Los Angeles Chargers, the project also includes retail, housing, a concert venue and green space. The stadium, built by a joint venture of Turner and AECOM, is slated for completion in 2019 and will host the Super Bowl LV in 2021.
St. Louis is left to pay off its $144 million stadium debt as well as maintenance costs, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas is continuing its push to bring the Raiders franchise from Oakland, CA, with the construction of a $1.9 billion stadium. NFL owners approved the team's move in March, with plans for the new facility well underway. Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration green-lighted the proposed stadium and local officials approved land-use permits, meaning site work can start in December, as expected.