Dori: Is anyone surprised Seattle Center Coliseum is over budget?
The renovations at the Seattle Center Coliseum — which some call KeyArena — were originally estimated to cost $600 million, and were supposed to be complete by autumn of 2020.
Now on Thursday we find this number has gone up to $900 million, and that the new Seattle Center Coliseum may not be complete until late spring or even summer 2021.
The good news is, you and I are not on the hook for the cost overruns. The company that’s building it, Oak View Group, says it’s covering all the overruns.
But the problem is, if the Seattle Storm can’t play there for their 2021 season, when it was supposed to be open already, then the taxpayers will have to give the Storm $260,000 for every game missed, because the team will have to move somewhere else.
What struck me is that they said the reason the costs have skyrocketed from $600 million to $900 million is because of “higher building material and labor costs.”
I have to ask the question, can nobody do an estimate, in either the public or the private sector? Sound Transit is billions over budget, the Seattle Tunnel will be hundreds of millions over budget, and now this arena is $300 million over budget. It’s just incredible to me that nobody can seem to do anything on-time and on-budget.
As I’ve said before, I think it’s a bad location. I still think that traffic is going to be brutal whenever that thing opens.
Oh, and stop calling it KeyArena. It’s not KeyArena. The reason I refuse to call it by its new name is because Key Bank hasn’t given a penny to taxpayers for years. They’ve been riding the coattails off of that name for far too long.
The reason the construction is taking so long is because the nostalgic people of this region wanted to preserve the roof line that dates back to the World’s Fair. It would have been so much cheaper and easier to just tear it down and build anew.
Look, I get it. I love the Seattle Center Coliseum. I have great memories of going to Sonics games as a kid and teenager. But we’re paying a lot of money for nostalgia. Can you imagine, keeping that roof line in place and doing everything underneath it? It’s just a massive increase in cost.
If you have ever done a massive remodel of a house, then you know that if you could just tear down everything and start from scratch, it’s a lot more affordable than trying to fit around the existing structure.
And one last thought — what about all the people who have already put down deposits for NHL tickets? The NHL coming here could be delayed by a year if these delays pile up. Who gets to sit on that money and collect interest on it? The franchise does. That becomes some real money. And that’s the price of nostalgia.