Council Approves Unprecedented Agreement to Redevelop KeyArena

SEATTLE – Council today authorized Mayor Jenny A. Durkan to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oak View Group (OVG) to redevelop KeyArena into a world-class multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena. The legally binding agreement commits OVG to project costs, including all project overruns, $40 million in neighborhood transportation improvements, and a bevy of additional financial commitments and other obligations.

“We’ve set the stage to make the most significant investment in Seattle Center since the World’s Fair,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle), co-chair of the Council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas. “Today’s agreement was the Seattle Process at its best: We gathered stakeholders, consulted the community, highlighted our concerns and goals, aggressively negotiated, and when we had a solid plan, we pushed it through.  I cannot overstate the diligence that went into this agreement.  We can all be proud of this transformational partnership.”

Council was party to a four-month negotiation between the City and OVG to develop agreement conditions. Council also retained a financial consultant to provide independent analysis to ensure the City would be party to a fiscally sound agreement. Council signaled its priorities early in the negotiation process, which generally fell into the following six categories:

  • The project must be fiscally prudent
  • The project must positively integrate with Seattle Center
  • Current Seattle Center tenant impacts must be addressed
  • Transportation impacts must be mitigated
  • OVG must treat workers equitably and consistent with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative principles during construction and operations
  • Needs of impacted neighborhoods must be addressed

The MOU agreement commits OVG to a 39-year lease with two, eight-year renewal options for a total of up to 55 years. The redeveloped arena will nearly double the size of KeyArena, meet LEED Gold or equivalent standards, and will preserve the current historic roofline. KeyArena was last renovated over 20 years ago, and a 2015 evaluation concluded that for the City to attract a sports franchise, the arena would need to be modernized.

Council President Bruce A. Harrell (District 2, Southeast Seattle), co-chair of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas, said, “The City negotiated one of the strongest arena agreements you will find in the country, protecting our taxpayers and the City. The community benefits agreement is unprecedented with investments to help address issues like homelessness and other social needs. I am confident this will be a partnership of success with OVG in building a state-of-the-art arena, generating economic vitality, and the ultimate goal of getting an NHL team and bringing back the Sonics.”

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) said, “After a year of hard work and negotiations, we’ve taken the next step toward our civic Arena becoming the iconic destination for Seattle and the region. This redevelopment unlocks the potential for the best new arena for sports, entertainment, high-tech expos, concerts and more—with partners who have already demonstrated their commitment to partnering with the City for success. Thank you to the members of the Oak View Group, to Brian Surratt and City negotiators, and to the community leaders who have come to the table to address mobility and economic development challenges.  We’re underway!”

OVG will not use City bonding capacity for development of the project, nor will they be exempt from paying admissions taxes to the City. OVG intends to fund the project through a combination of private equity, debt financing from lenders, and federal historic tax credits. OVG will assume all costs related to operating and maintaining the arena.

OVG is expected to contribute the following to the KeyArena redevelopment project:

  • $600 million in project costs, plus all cost overruns.
  • $3.5 million to cover the City’s cost for the hiring of expert consultants and legal counsel during the MOU negotiation process.
  • $250,000 for a transportation consultant to develop a neighborhood mobility action plan.
  • $40 million payment for transportation improvements over the 39-year lease term (approximately $1 million per year), as informed by the mobility action plan.
  • Guaranteed baseline rent and tax guaranty payments, amount to be determined by an accounting firm based on the four-year trailing historical annual average of arena-related revenues for years 2014 through 2017 (roughly estimated to be approximately $2.6 million per year.
  • $20 million in-kind or cash to non-profit organizations, including $10 million dedicated for YouthCare. Council amended the MOU to require that at least half the contributions be made in cash.
  • $1.5 million to relocate the Seattle Center campus’ skate park and maintenance facility.
  • $500,000 for relocation of other affected Seattle Center tenants.
  • All costs related to temporary and permanent relocation of Pottery Northwest
  • Hire and pay for a community liaison.
  • 14 rent-free days per year for the Seattle/King County Public Health Clinic, Bumbershoot, and other community events.
  • Dedicate one percent construction costs to the 1% for the Arts Program.
  • Make a Mandatory Housing Affordability payment for the increase in arena square footage.
  • Arena workers are expected to be paid a prevailing wage, and current qualified KeyArena employees will be offered an equivalent job following the arena’s opening.
  • As revenue collections begin, the City will collect 25 percent of excess revenue in the first ten years of the lease, and 50 percent for the remaining years beyond the baseline rent and tax generated.
  • If arena tax revenues ever fall below current levels (about $2.4m/year), OVG will reimburse the City the difference.

The MOU provides an agreed-upon framework that will soon be memorialized in a Development Agreement, Lease Agreement, and Seattle Center Integration Agreement. Redevelopment construction is estimated to begin at the end of 2018 for opening in October 2020.

Mercedes Elizalde, Councilmember Juarez’ Office, 206-684-8805
Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061

# # #

FINAL 2018 Budget Wins for D5

Hello District 5 Community,

Monday, November 20th, the City Council voted to approve the 2018 City budget. I am excited to report the final 2018 City Budget and what it means for D5! Working with my colleagues, I was able to secure funding for District 5 priorities and citywide priorities. I have included a selection of those new investments below. Overall, we had an 86% success rate for investments I worked to achieve in this budget and a 96% success rate for new investments in District 5!


District 5 – New Investments = $6,274,910

$5,000,000 – Lake City Community Center Rebuild

$35,000 – Hubbard Homestead Park neighborhood planning

$60,000 – Sound Generation: Expansion of the Lake City and Northgate “Senior Center Without Wall”

$60,000 – Aurora Commons: Expansion of outreach and drop-in services

$369,910 – Sweetened Beverage Tax – Increase funding for food banks (Some of this funding will also be used to support food banks in other Council Districts)

$750,000 – Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Expansion to SPD North Precinct


Citywide/Multi-District – New and Continuing Investments = $11,100,000

$100,000 – Chief Seattle Club pre-design funds for future affordable housing project

$11,000,000 – Maintain commitment to North Precinct Police Station

SLI – Worker Retention and Job Security Initiative


Collaborations = $1,875,000 (these investments include programs and projects that were sponsored by other Councilmembers and that require investment from other government and/or nonprofit partners)

$1,300,000 – Community Health Engagement Locations

$500,000 – Youth Opportunity Center and Housing Project

$75,000 – Home and Hope – Housing pre-development (Northgate & Citywide)


This budget also includes funding for pedestrian improvements throughout our community through the Move Seattle Vision Zero initiative:



Project Spending Plan Projected Design Projected Construction
Sand Point Way Safety Corridor $970,000 2018 2019
Aurora Ave N Safety Corridor (in partnership with WSDOT) $580,000 2017-2019 2018-2019
Lake City Way Intersection Improvements $500,000 2017-2019 2020


A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to write in, call and show up to provide public comment to support these critical investments. District 5 has long needed enhanced investments and I will continue to advocate for our communities. I am very proud of the work we were able to accomplish this budget session.



Round 1 in the 2018 Budget!

Thank you to those that have been writing in, calling our office and coming out to the budget public hearings. We have had great success in the first round of the budget review and I could not have done it without you!

I have put together a list of all the budget actions that have been included in the Initial Balancing Package. Please keep in mind this is only the first round of budget reviews. Council will be making more changes and I am dedicated to holding on to all the funds that have been allocated so far! In this Initial Balancing Package, we have secured $6,524,910 with $6,205,000 going directly to new District 5 investments! Those new investments include:

  • $5,000,000 for the Lake City Community Center – these funds are the foundation for a larger capital campaign to raise all the money we will need to build a brand new Lake City Community Center. (The Mayors budget also includes $270,000 for staff to manage the current center)
  • **$1,000,000 for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) expansion into the North Precinct – these funds would pay for case managers, a base of operations, a nurse and outreach workers in the North Precinct**
  • $60,000 for senior services – these funds will add another day of service in Lake City and start a new program in Northgate
  • $35,000 for Hubbard Homestead Park – these funds will be for community planning to identify new park improvements to be made in the upcoming years
  • **$60,000 for Aurora Commons to provide services along Aurora Ave North – these funds will go to support low-barrier drop-in services along Aurora to help people find support and stability**
  • $369,910 for food banks citywide – these funds, from the Sweetened Beverage Tax, will go to support food banks across the City including programs like Family Works and North Helpline in District 5
  • Worker Retention – Statement of Legislative Intent – This report back will be used to build worker retention policy for the City of Seattle. I want to make sure workers are protected and have a right to stability when jobs are transferred or subcontracted

I am so proud of this first step and I will be working hard to make sure all these investments make it into the final budget. Below I have listed some additional budget actions I was proud to co-sponsor, and I hope these actions made it into the final budget as well:

  • $150,000 to restore funding for the Summer Parkways Program
  • $500,000 for pedestrian improvements in South Park
  • $69,000 to open up all wading pools during the summer months
  • $138,353 to add 3 staff at Magnuson Community Center
  • $200,000 for Tenant’s Union to conduct tenant education and outreach
  • **$400,000 for Childcare Resource’s homeless childcare program**
  • $200,000 to support teacher workforce diversity and bilingual teacher pipeline
  • **$500,000 for the Youth Opportunity Center and Housing Project in Capitol Hill**
  • $75,000 for the Home and Hope project to identify future affordable housing and early learning locations in Northgate and citywide
  • **$161,000 to fund an additional prescriber for addiction recovery medication at Public Health facilities**
  • $150,000 for a Navigation Team nurse
  • **$550,000 for Community Health Engagement Locations to support people struggling with addiction**
  • **$200,000 for emergency shelter and support services for survivors of domestic violence**
  • $150,000 to assist parents to regaining custody of their children
  • **$400,000 for additional services to survivors or domestic violence and sexual assault**
  • $450,000 to support authorized encampments and tiny house villages

Thank you again for all your support so far. Please continue to write us letters and attend Council meetings to advocate for what is important to you and District 5. The next round of budget reviews begins November 7th. The final vote on the budget will be on November 20th and December 11th.


**The funds for these budget additions are from the potential proceeds from the proposed employee hours/employee head tax which has not yet been approved by the Council or the Mayor.

Council Votes Encourages Housing, Pedestrian-Friendly Development in North Seattle

Limits New Heavy Development in Urban Villages

SEATTLE – Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) and her colleagues voted unanimously in favor of passing Council Bill 119093, effectively placing a temporary limit on new heavy commercial development to encourage more housing and pedestrian friendly commercial development in the Aurora Licton Springs Urban Village.

“I am proud to share this update with the many community members who worked with me to develop and pass this legislation, and who expressed concerns that the developable land in their Urban Village was being taken up by new developments that did not reflect the vision for this community,” said Juarez.  “Ultimately many of these new developments will not be supported by the new citywide zoning changes that were being proposed by the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program.”

The Aurora Licton Urban Village (ALUV) has been supportive of the MHA proposed zoning changes, providing positive and constructive feedback to the Office of Planning and Community Development. “It was their vision and continual commitment to reimagining their community that made it possible for me to draft and pass this legislation that will focus development capacity on housing and pedestrian friendly commercial development,” Juarez concluded.

Mercedes Elizalde, Councilmember Juarez’s Office, 206-684-8805
Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061


Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

Aurora Licton Urban Village Legislation

Council Bill 119093 is scheduled for a Full Council vote on Monday Oct. 3rd at 2pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

The purpose of this legislation is to encourage more housing and pedestrian friendly development in the C1, C2 and NC3 designations within the boundaries of the Aurora Licton Urban Village (ALUV). The goals of this legislation are consistent with the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, the Aurora Licton Urban Village neighborhood plan and the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) citywide re-zones, all of which have had community and council review over the last several years, with more review to come in 2018.

The legislation will disallow certain types of heavy commercial being developed inside the ALUV boundaries. No businesses will be asked to leave or relocate as a result of the legislation. Any new business development that has recently been permitted or is in the permitting process will still move forward.

When the new upzones go into effect (expected in 2018) these heavy commercial uses will no long be allowed in ALUV anyway, so this is trying to build a bridge. Housing and more pedestrian friendly development will still be allowed on those lots and we are hoping this will encourage those owners, if they plan to develop, to do so by creating housing and/or pedestrian friendly commercial spaces.

The ALUV community has been welcoming to potential dense zoning changing and more pedestrian friendly development. However, since they are part of the citywide re-zone they will have to wait, and this is a way for us to not lose too much development capacity with things that are incompatible with the vision for that neighborhood and will be legally incompatible in the future.

Local News Coverage: