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Former Seattle Center exec: AECOM report on KeyArena remodel is "smoke and mirrors"

Former Seattle Center deputy director Terry McLaughlin calls foul on KeyArena remodel

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Art Thiel of Sports Press NW recently spoke to Terry McLaughlin, former deputy director of Seattle Center and executive vice president of the Seattle SuperSonics about this AECOM report we've been hearing so much about. McLaughlin did not mince words.

"I think it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors," McLaughlin said. "The whole discussion is based on a premise that the AECOM study and its conclusions would be approved by the NBA and NHL. That hasn’t happened.

"I can’t imagine a league approving it. So the whole argument is specious."

Just in case you haven't looked over the AECOM report, it says that for a nominal fee of $285 million, KeyArena can tilt the playing surface floor diagonally to make room for 15,909 seats for hockey and 17,127 for basketball, featuring seats with a width of 19 inches. This $285 million renovation of the previously renovated arena would make it the second smallest in either league.

"You can’t do it with the shape of the bowl in the Key," McLaughlin continued. "Remember, when we did the remodel (in 1995), we were not trying to get hockey, we were trying to save basketball. To have hockey, you have to have a much bigger footprint and capacity. You have to blow (the Key) up and start over."

This jives with Chris Hansen on the Dave Mahler show yesterday, calling any renovation of KeyArena below $300 million "ludicrous," and saying that his group - as well as any other group trying to bring sports to Seattle - has already examined KeyArena and ruled it out as an option.

Thiel also references the Seattle Times story that accused the Seattle City Council of "brushing off" the AECOM report. As Theil explains, if the Council had given weight to the report and wanted to move forward with the Key in lieu of Hansen's SoDo plan, it would have undermined the MOU and opened them to legal action from the Sonics Arena group.

KeyArena wasn't good enough in 2008. KeyArena is not good enough in 2016. It's time to move on, and SoDo is not just the best option, it's the only option. It's Game Time.