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Reviews underwhelming for new Seattle arena designs

Dave Ross says one of the designs for a new Seattle arena remind him a lot of a Carnival cruise ship, much to the chagrin of co-host Luke Burbank. (360 Architecture image)

The early reviews are less than glowing for the preliminary design concepts for a new Seattle arena.

“I was kind of underwhelmed. The building had a very generic look to it,” said Ross and Burbank’s Luke Burbank.

Architects for investor Chris Hansen gave us our first look at three potential designs Friday for the proposed $490 million arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood just south of Safeco Field.

The architects have said they wanted to create a unique building that complements the existing neighborhood and melds with the waterfront and surrounding area. But co-host Dave Ross wondered if they didn’t take it a little too far.

“This reminds me of the upper decks of a Carnival cruise ship which has the swimming pool on top and the various decks and sort of shade canopy in case the weather gets too sunny,” Ross said in response to one of the three designs from 360 Architecture of Kansas City.

“There isn’t anything spectacular going on the top of the building that says ‘look at us, here we are,'” said Burbank. “I would like this to have a little bit more of the panache, of say, the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn which was built for the Brooklyn Nets.”

The designs could change dramatically over the next year. The architects insist the preliminary pictures are just possibilities and nothing is set in stone. Burbank and many others can only hope.

“For $490 million, you can get yourself a sweet looking roof,” Burbank said. “The number one thing I care about is that basketball is coming back – but while we’re at it – why not make something that’s kind of glorious and puts us on the map.”

Others agree. Numerous comments online are less than glowing about the new designs. Among them: “Inspired by the Renton Boeing plant?” and “That’s it?”

What do you think?

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