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Seattle mayor picks Oak View Group’s proposal for KeyArena rebuild

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has chosen the Oak View Group’s proposal to reconstruct KeyArena.

“Both proposals were good, but theirs was really a complete new arena built under the existing roof … and also theirs was private financing,” he told “Brock and Salk” while announcing his decision on Tuesday.

The other proposal by Seattle Partners had “some good points to it,” but Murray said there were “public financing issues and it wasn’t a complete rebuild.”

“I’m looking for a 50-year fix here,” Murray added.

Murray made his decision late on Friday. Murray said that decision was leaked out before Seattle Partners withdrew its proposal on Sunday.

Murray’s decision to go with Oak View Group’s proposal doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Insiders told KIRO Radio’s Mike Lewis that it was the favorite.

Tim Leiweke, the CEO and co-founder of Oak View Group, said in a press release: “OVG thanks Mayor Murray and the City of Seattle for selecting our team to work with the city and the Uptown and Queen Anne neighborhoods to transform the arena at Seattle Center into one of the great entertainment venues in the world. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. We know about the great enthusiasm Seattle has for its music and professional sports. OVG will work hard, with a sense of purpose and urgency, and with transparency, throughout the entitlement and construction process to get the arena built for the people of Seattle to enjoy.”

The group proposed a $564 million restoration of the existing KeyArena. Under the plan, KeyArena would be retrofitted for professional hockey and basketball.

The Oak View Group proposal was attractive because of its lack of need for public funding or subsidies. There is also a rumored inside track to an NHL franchise.

The Seattle Partners’ plan envisioned the public bonding of three separate revenue sources: a facility fee at the remodeled arena, a future lease payment to the city from the company, and ticket taxes.

A third proposal backed by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, which sought to build a privately-funded $550 million arena in SoDo, now seems all but dead. During his interview with “Brock and Salk,” Murray pointed out that the Seattle City Council voted the SoDo plan down.

“That remains a reality,” he said.

The Oak View Group’s plan will now be vetted by the Seattle City Council.

Murray made a more formal announcement of his decision later Wednesday outside KeyArena, where he was joined by Leiweke and fellow Oak View Group executive Irving Azoff, among others. Murray also announced that Oak View Group is partnering with a pair of prospective NHL owners: David Bonderman, a University of Washington grad and minority owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, as well as Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

You can listen to the full interview with Murray here. Leiweke will join “Brock and Salk” in-studio Thursday at 9 a.m.

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