STATEMENT RE: KeyArena Proposal from SODO Arena Group

The Seattle Office of Economic Development issued the following statement regarding a proposal from SODO Arena Group to renovate KeyArena:

In January 2017, the Office of Economic Development issued an RFP soliciting ideas for the future of KeyArena. The City received two strong proposals from Oak View Group and Seattle Partners (AEG), by the deadline. Those proposals were reviewed by City staff, the community and outside experts against the following criteria:

  • 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.

Oak View Group’s proposal was the strongest of the two, so they were selected. If the SODO Arena Group was interested in redeveloping KeyArena, they should have submitted their proposal during the RFP process, which would have shown a willingness to work with the City on this project. They did not submit a proposal and continue to show no interest in working in partnership with the City.

We are well underway negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oak View Group, and plan to transmit the MOU to Seattle City Council shortly. We are excited about the future of the Seattle Center Arena and grateful private investors are committed to investing more than half a billion dollars in a venue designed to attract the NBA, NHL and outstanding music and entertainment.

The City of Seattle Launches Arena Community Advisory Group

As part of the ongoing process of evaluating plans for the possible redevelopment of the Arena at Seattle Center into a state-of-the-art entertainment and sports facility that could potentially bring the NHL and the NBA to Seattle, the City of Seattle assembled an Arena Community Advisory Group.

The group’s purpose is:

  • To help the City ensure that a redeveloped Arena would connect and integrate with Seattle Center and surrounding neighborhoods and advise on mobility planning
  • To partner with the City in the development of labor agreements supporting current and future workers
  • To champion “Women and Minority Business Enterprises” policy inclusion in any forthcoming agreements that may be negotiated

Members of the Arena Community Advisory Group include:

  • Monty Anderson – Executive Secretary, Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council
  • John Barr – NHL to Seattle
  • Robert Cardona – Uptown Alliance
  • Andrea Caupain – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone
  • Evan Clifthorne – Project Belltown
  • Brian Curry – 10 Mercer Restaurant and Seattle Center Advisory Commission member
  • Deborah Frausto – Uptown Alliance
  • Ollie Garrett – President, Tabor 100
  • Nicole Grant – Executive Secretary, Martin Luther King County Labor Council
  • Mike McQuaid – South Lake Union Community Council
  • Brian Robinson – Founder, Sonics Rising
  • Sarah Wilke – Executive Director, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)
  • Jane Zalutsky – Executive Director, Seattle Center Foundation

The group will meet on an ongoing basis through the permitting and environmental review processes and development of any final development agreements that may be negotiated.

In early 2017, the City of Seattle issued an RFP for the redevelopment of the Arena.  The City chose Oak View Group as the preferred partner and is currently negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oak View Group. The City Council will review and potentially adopt the MOU later this fall.

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/arena

What happens next for KeyArena?

Yesterday, the City of Seattle received two strong proposals to redevelop KeyArena at Seattle Center. Oak View Group and Seattle Partners (AEG and Hudson Pacific Properties) both submitted their plans to turn the Arena into a world-class facility that would be able to host NBA and NHL teams and the best music entertainment.

Oak View Group rendering

Seattle Partners Rendering

Now that the proposals are in City hands we’re digging through hundreds of pages and unpacking the details of each proposal. We’re comparing the proposals with the objectives contained in the RFP:

  • 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.

As City staff examines the proposals, we are also working with experts in arena design and law to review the proposals.

We are seeking counsel from an Arena Community Advisory Panel, who will review the proposals, and have the opportunity to meet with both teams to ask questions.  Once they complete their review, they will share their thoughts about both proposals with the Mayor.

Transportation is an issue the City is carefully considering. Both proposers made suggestions about how to move thousands of people to and from the Arena. City staff are also taking a close look at projects already in the pipeline and future improvements that would enhance transportation in that corridor.

The proposers are also looking forward to talking with you. There will be an open house May 11 from 5 – 8 PM at KEXP for you to come meet with the proposers, review their plans and ask questions.

Once all the analysis is completed, the City’s Executive Review Team and the Arena Community Advisory Panel will advise the mayor, and the mayor will make the final decision. The Executive Review Team will make a recommendation to the mayor by June. If the mayor chooses to go forward with one of the proposals, the City Council would vote on a development and lease agreement negotiated by the City with the winning bidder.

KeyArena RFP City decision process

The City will eventually release the proposals to the public, but for now, you can check out the executive summaries provided by the two bidders.

As this process unfolds, keep in mind, the City remains committed to our primary goal: we want to bring the Sonics and the NHL to Seattle.