- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has chosen the Oak View Group (OVG) to perform a $564 million renovation of the city's KeyArena, according to KIRO 7 News.
- OVG will rebuild the facility to 660,000 square feet under the existing historic roof by digging down 15 feet and gutting the interior. The finished arena will meet NBA and NHL standards.
- OVG — backed by Madison Square Garden Entertainment — will privately finance the project, with which the group hopes to attract a basketball or hockey franchise. The plan still must receive approval form the Seattle City Council.
Residents in the neighborhood surrounding the KeyArena have expressed concerns about traffic congestion and noise once the facility is complete, as the addition of one or more major league franchises would make the facility a year-round destination.
OVG, which has enlisted NHL owners as part of the KeyArena redevelopment group, said it will work on transportation solutions in advance of the light-rail system expected to open in the area by 2035.The arena project is expected to be complete in 2020.
OVG was the only group left in the running for the KeyArena project after its sole competitor, Seattle Partners, withdrew its $521 million bid last weekend. The company maintained that the bidding process had not been transparent enough and that Seattle officials had unrealistic demands about the financing structure. Unlike OVG, Seattle Partners proposed that the city contribute a significant amount of upfront money — $250 million via a bond issue, according to KING 5.
The city of Seattle first issued a request for proposals for the arena in January 2017, and the conditions of the request required that all proposals includes a plan for financing the project. The long-term plan was that the winning developer would lease the arena from the city in exchange for the revenue generated by naming rights, sponsorships and ticket sales.