Mayor Ed Murray announces Oak View Group as preferred partner for redevelopment of KeyArena

Mayor Ed Murray announced Oak View Group (OVG) as the preferred partner for the redevelopment of KeyArena today, beginning the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will meet the needs of the surrounding community, the City, Seattle Center and the people who will enjoy the building for years to come. Today’s announcement comes at the culmination of a process that began last fall, with two organizations offering more than $1 billion to rebuild KeyArena into a world-class sports and entertainment facility. KeyArena is the centerpiece of the broader vision of a Seattle Center that is a central destination for Seattleites and people who visit our city each year.

“Today is an exciting day for the City, Sonics fans and everyone who looks forward to visiting KeyArena for hundreds of events each year,” said Mayor Murray. “KeyArena is one of our city’s great landmarks, and we will now work with OVG to get the best deal for Seattle – one that embraces the surrounding community, helps lay the foundation for the future of Seattle, and brings the Sonics home and the NHL to Seattle. I want to thank Oak View Group and Seattle Partners for working with the City of Seattle on the future of KeyArena and their interest in investing in the city.”

In February of 2017, the City of Seattle released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop KeyArena into a world-class sports and entertainment facility. Two serious bidders, Oak View Group and Seattle Partners, presented more than $1 billion in combined investments to reimagine the arena at the heart of Seattle Center. Oak View Group’s proposal emerged as the preferred option from the internal and external review processes. The Mayor’s Executive Review Team, led by Brian Surratt, unanimously selected Oak View Group as the preferred partner on Friday, June 2, 2017.

“On behalf of OVG, we want to congratulate the City of Seattle for its vision in revitalizing the arena at Seattle Center,” said Tim Leiweke, Co-founder and CEO of Oak View Group. “We are honored to partner with the Seattle Center, Uptown and Queen Anne neighborhoods, and the City, to preserve this historic building while transforming it into a world-class sports and live entertainment venue. We are committed to being a good neighbor, building on time and on budget with no risk to the taxpayers and City. Lastly, we will be a partner in the City’s path to bringing the NHL to Seattle and the return of the NBA. There is much work ahead and we have a great team and partner in the City of Seattle.”

While leaving the iconic roofline intact, OVG plans to redevelop the entire interior of the building, digging fifteen feet lower than the existing floor to add more square footage, bringing the arena size up to 660,000 square feet. Since KeyArena is eligible for historic landmark status, maintaining the existing roofline was identified as an important criterion. And OVG’s design meets at least the requirements of both the NBA and NHL.

OVG’s plan does not rely on the City’s bonding capacity, and they have partnered with Live Nation and Madison Square Garden Group, two well-established companies with the financial resources to build and operate an Arena of this size and scope. Additionally, OVG has strong relationships with both the NBA and NHL, which will be necessary to court teams in the future.

“I have been involved in basketball all my life, and I believe that Oak View Group’s vision provides the best way to bring the Sonics back to Seattle,” said Lenny Wilkens, former head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics and a member of the Arena Community Advisory Panel.

“Seattle’s labor community is excited about the opportunity to redevelop KeyArena,” said Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary of the M.L. King-County Labor Council and a member of the Arena Community Advisory Panel. “This project, during and after construction, will be a major employer, and OVG has indicated a strong commitment to equity and to workers as we move forward.”

Over several months, a Community Advisory Panel, external consultants who are experts in arenas, and internal City staff evaluated the proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Provide a world-class civic venue 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 with minimal City financial participation.
  • Mayor Ed Murray announces Oak View Group as preferred partner for redevelopment of KeyArena.
  • 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.

Also, the City collected comments from residents at an open house and online. While this process focused on the possible redevelopment of KeyArena, the City continues to honor its MOU with the group led by Chris Hansen, which continues into December of this year. Today’s announcement underscores the interest in building a world-class arena in Seattle, offering the City an option should the Hansen group fail to secure an NBA team, and helps address the future of the City-owned KeyArena.

In addition to their expertise with the arena, OVG demonstrated a commitment to the Seattle community. They established a $20 million community investment fund, $10 million of which will be dedicated to fighting youth homelessness through YouthCare.

“It is beyond our most vivid daydreams to think about all that will unfold through our partnership with Oak View Group,” said Melinda Giovengo, CEO of YouthCare, an organization that has provided support to homeless youth in the Seattle community for more than 40 years and to which Oak View Group has pledged $10 million over the next 20 years. “YouthCare is incredibly honored to be part of this transformative and historic project. So often homeless youth are invisible or left behind. But today? They are right alongside the City as it prepares to take a powerful and innovative step into its future. We thank Oak View Group for their commitment to Seattle’s shared values, and to helping homeless youth in our community find safety and prepare to take powerful steps into their own futures.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Ed Murray signed a letter agreeing to negotiate with Oak View Group to determine the final terms in a MOU. Once the terms are agreed upon, City Council will vote on the MOU by the end of 2017

The City of Seattle invites the community to continue to share their thoughts about Oak View Group’s design to help inform our negotiations moving forward. Visit to share your thoughts and to review materials.

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Mayor Murray statement on KeyArena proposals

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement regarding today’s announcement by Seattle Partners:

“We appreciate Seattle Partners’ interest in investing in KeyArena and our ongoing partnership with AEG on major events, such as Bumbershoot. Over the last few months, the City and the Community Advisory Panel have undertaken a careful review of the two proposals to redevelop KeyArena into a world class entertainment facility that will bring the NHL to Seattle and the Sonics back home.

“There are strengths and weaknesses in each proposal and the City fully expects a robust negotiation upon choosing a preferred alternative, to ensure the final plan meets the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods, the city, Seattle Center and those who will use the building for years to come.

“It is unfortunate Seattle Partners chose to pull their proposal. As recently as May 19th, Seattle Partners stated in a mass email: ‘We applaud the City for executing a thoughtful public process. Engaging with teams from the City and the public has strengthened our proposal and crystallized our approach.’ We hope to continue our current relationship with AEG and look forward to addressing our path forward on KeyArena, as well as our commitment to engage the community, in the coming days.”

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Mayor Murray announces upcoming RFP for KeyArena

Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced the City of Seattle will issue a request for proposals (RFP) in early January, 2017, to solicit specific plans from private parties interested in the redevelopment of KeyArena. Proposals would be centered around developing an entertainment facility that can host meetings, concerts and sporting events.

The City is seeking partners who are willing to invest in a facility that will provide a better home for KeyArena’s existing tenants, including the Seattle Storm of the WNBA and the Seattle University basketball program. Two entities, AEG and The Oak View Group, have reached out to the City indicating that they are potentially interested in an agreement with the City on such a project, and the RFP process may reveal others are as well.

“We continue to listen to options to redevelop KeyArena as part of our revitalization of Seattle Center,” said Mayor Murray. “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.”

A study completed for the City by AECOM has demonstrated that an extensive renovation of KeyArena could provide a venue that would serve the needs of multiple tenants, fans, and the surrounding neighborhood.

Assuming an agreement can be reached, Council approval would be required and the project would be subject to an extensive review process, including an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and the associated assessment of traffic impacts. Potential KeyArena redevelopment would further energize and activate Seattle Center, after work with the Uptown neighborhood to develop a plan that can further enliven the neighborhood without creating undue impacts.

These proposals would join the recently-revised proposal from the group led by Chris Hansen as possibilities for the development of an arena in Seattle.

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Practice your favorite Olympic and Paralympic sports with Seattle Parks and Recreation

Does watching the 2016 Olympic Games inspire the inner athlete in you? If so, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) has a number of ways for you to practice some of your favorite Olympic and Paralympic sports.

With 6,300 acres of parkland, 120 miles of trails, 26 community centers, 204 athletic fields, and countless opportunities to join a sports class, camp or league, we’ve got everything you need to start training. So lace up your sneakers, grab an oar, or pick up a tennis racquet and let the excitement of the 31st Olympiad inspire you to start preparing for the 2020 Tokyo games!


Organize your own Dream Team and play a pick-up game at one of our 205 basketball hoops spread out across the city at our parks and community centers. We also offer seasonal youth basketball leagues to provide young athletes the opportunity to learn and solidify the fundamentals of basketball while participating in weekly organized games and practices.


We are blessed to live in an area with water at our doorstep and SPR offers a variety of ways for residents to get out and enjoy it. The Green Lake Small Craft Center along with the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center offer youth and adult rowing crew leagues. Rowing on a team is a great experience! As part of our youth crew, young people gain a sense of accomplishment and pride, working to meet the sport of rowing’s physical and mental challenges. We also have novice, intermediate and competitive rowing crews for adults, as well as Paralympic paddling programs and special events on Green Lake using modified flatwater racing canoes and kayaks.


SPR has what you need to become the next Serena Williams or Roger Federer! We have 165 courts, from the tucked-away single court at Victory Heights Park, to the impressive Amy Yee Tennis Center in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, which offers 10 indoor courts and six outdoor courts. SPR also offers an array of tennis programs for youth and adults, and we host more than 100 United States Tennis Association (USTA) League, Junior Team Tennis, and Cup League games over the course of the year.


Did you know that there are 16 Olympic swim events in the pool, and four Olympic swimming strokes—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle? You can practice all of them at one of our eight indoor or two outdoor pools. Whether practicing lap swimming, or getting fit with one of our aqua jog, water exercise or master workout classes, there are plenty of ways to enjoy our pools.


Seattle has some pretty amazing bike trails that take riders along a variety of impressive scenery. Running from Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, and connecting to the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell, the Burke-Gilman Trail offers more than 18 miles of multi-use trail perfect for cyclists. Seward Park boasts 300 acres of beautiful forest land, and is home to eagle nests, old-growth forest and a 2.4 mile bike and walking path. Extend your trip by several miles by biking from Seward Park to Mount Baker Park Beach along Lake Washington Blvd. If you prefer a shorter jaunt, Myrtle Edwards Park features a 1.25-mile winding bike and pedestrian path along Elliott Bay, and has fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Puget Sound.

Mayor Murray agrees to friendly wager with Mayor Roberts of Charlotte

Mayor Ed Murray has entered into a friendly wager with Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts ahead of Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers. Sunday’s game marks the second consecutive year the two teams have met in the Divisional round, with the Seahawks winning last year 31-17.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating another Seahawk playoff win with another package of prizes from yet another Mayor of Charlotte,” said Mayor Murray. “We have never lost to the Panthers in the playoffs and I know Coach Carroll has the team ready for this road playoff game. Last week’s game is proof that the Seahawks can beat any opponent, in any weather, in any stadium.”

“As much as I’d love to share our fine southern cuisine with our cross-country colleagues, they will have to settle for eating crow after we beat the ‘Hawks’,” said Mayor Roberts. “Coach Rivera has the team prepared to defeat anyone standing in their path to the Super Bowl. Pete Carroll will be sleepless in Charlotte trying to develop a game plan to stop Cam Newton.”

If the Seahawks beat the Panthers, Mayor Roberts will send Mayor Murray barbeque from Mac’s Speed Shop, beer from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, and salted caramel brownies from Amelie’s French Bakery.

If the Panthers defeat the Seahawks, Mayor Murray will send Mayor Roberts beer from Pike Brewing, wine from the South Seattle College’s Northwest Wine Academy, and Chinese barbeque from Kau Kau in the Chinatown-International District.

Sunday’s game kicks off at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte at 10:05 a.m. Pacific time.