More than $1 billion in combined investments proposed by developers competing to renovate KeyArena

Today, two proposals with a combined total investment of more than $1 billion were received to redevelop KeyArena into a world-class entertainment facility.

The Seattle Office of Economic Development received proposals from AEG and Oak View Group.

“Today is an important day in our goal of bringing the Sonics home and the NHL to Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray said. “Two well-known organizations submitted proposals to redevelop KeyArena, totaling more than $1 billion in investments between them. Their interest shows how Seattle has become one of the most desirable cities in America for sports and entertainment.”

Mayor Ed Murray continued, “Seattle Partners and Oak View Group’s proposals, as well as the existing option presented by Chris Hansen, reflect our growth as a city, and we look forward to charting the best path forward to #bringbackourSonics.”

“This is the moment we have all been waiting for. We have two strong proposals to consider,” Brian Surratt, Director of the Office of Economic Development said. “We take this responsibility seriously and understand the sense of urgency for sports and music fans. The City remains committed to choosing the best possible path to bring back the NBA and to bring the NHL to Seattle.”

“We have the best chance to date to bring basketball back to Seattle, wherever that may be,” Coach Lenny Wilkens, a member of the Arena Community Advisory Panel said. “I am excited to be a part of these initiatives, and I look forward to providing counsel to the Mayor on the outcome of KeyArena after I review these proposals.”

The proposal submitted today are designed to accommodate both the NBA and NHL and both paid special attention to a high-quality music and entertainment experiences.

Seattle Partners estimates a more than $500 million renovation budget. Seattle Partners noted in their Executive Summary, “the arena would generate more than $144 million in surplus revenue which will go directly to the City of Seattle.” The City would retain ownership of the facility, with “no risk to the City.”

Seattle Partners addressed transportation in their Executive Summary, writing “we will invest $5 million to accelerate existing transportation strategies around the arena and create a shared mobility hub adjacent to the arena. The Seattle Coliseum will be fully connected into Seattle’s transportation infrastructure, and the arrival of Light Rail will integrate seamlessly.”

Oak View Group plans to invest approximately $564 million. In their summary, they wrote, “It will be funded with private equity contributed from OVG, guaranteed by The Madison Square Garden Company and debt financed by Goldman Sachs.” OVG proposed a 35-year lease with the option of 5 additional 10-year leases.

Additional financial and operational details were included in both RFPs and will be reviewed by City Budget Office (CBO).

Oak View Group highlighted transportation mitigation in their Executive Summary. They plan to build an 850-stall parking garage and use technology to help drivers reserve parking and predetermine their route to and from the stadium. OVG also plans to “incentivize ticket buyers by offering bundled tickets with mass transit or rideshare programs.”

Deeper transportation analysis is contained in both RFPs.

Additional highlights from each proposal are in the Executive Summaries.

The City of Seattle will review the proposals with the assistance of the Arena Community Advisory Panel. Recommendations will be delivered to the Mayor in June.

The City of Seattle will host an open house with the proposers and the public on May 11 at KEXP from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM so that the public can learn more about the proposals.

For evaluating the upcoming RFP bid proposals, the City created a 3-pronged approach, as follows:

  • Community Advisory Panel— A Community Advisory Panel comprised of community leaders will review the proposals and the analysis provided by the City Staff Review Teams and offer their advice and observations to the Mayor and his Executive Review Team on strengths and areas of concern for the responses to the RFP.
  • City Staff Review Teams— The City Staff Review Teams will provide a detailed analysis of the proposals as they relate to the City’s objectives. Their analysis will be provided to both the Community Advisory Panel and the Executive Review Team with their respective reviews.
  • Executive Review Team— The Executive Review Team will evaluate the City Staff Review Team recommendations and consider the advice from the Community Advisory Panel before making their recommendation to the Mayor.

Members of the Arena Community Advisory Panel are:

  • Lenny Wilkens, Legendary Sonics Coach Three-Time Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee,
  • Jan Levy, Executive Director, Leadership Tomorrow; Chair, Seattle Center Advisory Committee
  • Deborah Frausto, Uptown Alliance
  • Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary, King-County Labor Council
  • Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants
  • Ollie Garrett, President, Tabor 100
  • Megan Jasper, CEO, Subpop Records; Seattle Music Commission
  • Todd Humphrey, Co-Founder, and Chief Commercial Officer, League Inc.; former professional hockey player
  • Jill Nishi, Director, Office of the President and Chief of Staff, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rico Quirindongo, Architect, DLR Group; One Center City Advisory Group

In January, the City of Seattle, led by Seattle Office of Economic Development Director, Brian Surratt released an RFP to renovate or rebuild KeyArena. Proposers were required to submit at least one proposal that assumed landmark status for the KeyArena Redevelopment site, primarily because KeyArena is eligible for the status. They also had the option to submit a second proposal that envisions construction of a new arena. Neither developer chose to submit a complete teardown and rebuild.

The City’s objectives for the redevelopment of KeyArena are below (collectively “Arena Objectives”):

  • Provide a world-class civic arena (the “Arena”) to attract and present music, entertainment, and sports events, potentially including NBA and NHL events, to Seattle and the region.
  • Provide for Project design and Arena operations in a manner that integrates with and enhances connections to Uptown and adjoining neighborhoods and aligns with the Urban Design
  • Provide for design, permitting, development, demolition (if applicable), and construction of the Arena (the “Project”) with minimal City financial participation.
  • Provide for the continuous, successful, sustainable operation of the Arena as a world-class civic venue with minimal City financial participation.
  • Provide for mitigation of transportation impacts due to Project construction and Arena operations.
  • Provide Project construction and Arena operations in a manner that is equitable for workers and consistent with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.
  • Provide for Project design and Arena operational integration with Seattle Center, contributing positively to the vibrancy of Seattle Center.

KeyArena currently hosts more than 100 events each year. If NBA and NHL teams eventually use a proposed arena, it would add approximately 82 additional events at the site.

In addition to the two proposals from Seatle Partners and Oak View Group, students from the University of Washington submitted a Masters in Architecture thesis based on the KeyArena RFP.

Executive Summaries of the proposals and supporting materials are available online at

Seattle Partners Executive Summary:

Oak View Group Executive Summary: