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KeyArena Remodel Has Been Considered and Found Unfeasible

Latest Seattle Times editorial wonders why KeyArena remodel hasn't been considered. Actually, it has.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Times Editorial Board continues its campaign against the Seattle Arena proposal in SoDo with its latest op/ed published Wednesday evening.

Following upon the news that Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council expect a different mix on the financing of the arena that leans heavier on the private side of things for an "NHL-first" approach, the Ed Board insists that no public financing be used at all without an NBA team as part of the mix.

(Lest you assume they are open to the idea of an NBA-inclusive arena in SoDo, they refer to the city's potential participation in the existing financial framework negotiated as part of the MOU as "too generous to begin with.")

The common points are made in the editorial, including pointing to the competitive proposal of an arena in Tukwila that is expected to be fully privately financed as evidence to deny any public funding on a Seattle option. Interestingly, they also refer to a stadium proposal in Bellevue. While we continue to hear rumors of such a thing, and the Times caveats the point by questioning "whether these deals will actually materialize," there has been no formal presentation nor announcement of such a proposal yet.

A screed against the SoDo arena proposal wouldn't be complete without the Times trying to return attention to the city's aging KeyArena.

Unfortunately, one option not being discussed is a reinvigorated and remodeled KeyArena. It is a shame that the longtime city-owned home of the Sonics does not appear to be under consideration for the future Sonics.

If the Times had taken a moment to read the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the SoDo proposal released last week, they would note that this was considered. Per the FEIS summary:

Remodeling the existing KeyArena was considered and eliminated from further consideration as the existing floorplate could not be enlarged enough to allow the placement of a regulation size ice rink of 200 feet by 85 feet with an adequate number of seats for NHL league games.

The NBA has, of course, stated its issues with KeyArena. These have been known for, at the very least, eight years to both the city and to the Times, and used as justification to move the Sonics from the market in the first place.

We all have wonderful memories of the Key. It's one of the reasons the SoDo investors would like to be able to incorporate the building into their operations to allow for a ramp-down period as the building is eventually phased out.

What the Times fails to realize is that the SoDo proposal is the only arena effort that is paying consideration to KeyArena. Any arena built outside of the city all but ensures its obsolescence.

Now, if you're talking about using the land at Seattle Center that the Key sits upon, there's a whole FEIS that takes that into consideration.