Seattle mayor makes big KeyArena announcement
Two days after investor Chris Hansen said he was willing to forego public financing to build a new sports arena in SoDo, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced plans of his own.
Murray will issue a request for proposals in January 2017 for the redevelopment of KeyArena.
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In a statement, Murray said that two entities, AEG and the Oak View Group, contacted the city seeking an agreement on the plan. The Seattle Times reports the Oak View Group includes sports executive Tim Leiweke.
The redevelopment of KeyArena would be preferred by those who have opposed Hansen’s plan. That includes several city council members and the Port of Seattle. Critics of Hansen and his team say building another arena in SoDo would be detrimental to the already congested roadways and would negatively impact port traffic. A SoDo arena would require the city to vacate a one-block stretch of Occidental Avenue.
The announcement by Murray falls in line with what KIRO Radio’s Mike Lewis reported just last week. Lewis wrote that, behind the scenes, Murray’s office wasn’t abandoning the idea of the KeyArena once again hosting more major sporting events in an area already served-well by public transportation in Seattle Center.
In his announcement, Murray notes that an “extensive renovation of KeyArena could provide a venue that would serve the needs of multiple tenants, fans, and the surrounding neighborhood.” Murray notes that the proposal would join Hansen’s plan as another possibility.
“We continue to listen to options to redevelop KeyArena as part of our revitalization of Seattle Center,” Mayor Murray said. “There are many challenges to consider, including how to address traffic in the growing Uptown neighborhood, and any viable plan will include efforts to mitigate these concerns, while also bringing Seattle tremendous cultural and financial benefit. But, I remain committed to building a state-of-the-art arena in Seattle, and this effort means multiple entities could be working to make that a reality. I also remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.”
An agreement regarding KeyArena would need city council approval and include an extensive review process.
Related: Previous argument against Seattle arena now a moot point