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Complete KeyArena teardown an option & other RFP details

City of Seattle issues RFP for new arena options at Seattle Center

City of Seattle (via KING5 News)

A complete teardown of the existing KeyArena facility to develop a new footprint on the land is an option the City of Seattle is offering developers in its request for proposals for new arena options at Seattle Center.

Chris Daniels of KING5-TV obtained a copy of the RFP document set to be issued by the city on Wednesday. The 25-page document, Daniels reports, sets out the details of any potential arena project that an interested developer must address.

Per the RFP, the city is looking at "redeveloping and operating KeyArena at Seattle Center as a world-class civic arena presenting music entertainment, and sports events, including the potential for NBA and NHL events."

Long thought an impossibility given potential landmark status of the building’s iconic roof design, the city states it is open to proposals that would involve the whole building, including the roof, being demolished to make way for a new facility.

The land proposed for the redevelopment project involves KeyArena and a number of facilities to the south of the building. This includes the 1st Ave Parking Garage across Thomas St.

Potential Redevelopment Site at Seattle Center
City of Seattle (via KING5 News)

Of note, though, is that each interested developer must submit two plans in the RFP — one plan that involves a new facility and one plan that offers a remodel of the existing KeyArena.

Daniels mentions that the city is currently engaging the Landmark Preservation Board in a study of the KeyArena roof for landmark status. If the roof is awarded landmark status, the city would like to have remodel options to consider. A decision on the status may not occur until the second quarter of 2018, according to Daniels’ sources at City Hall.

The RFP also clarifies the effective date of the Memorandum of Understanding the city is engaged in with the county and developer Chris Hansen’s group to explore a potential arena project in the SoDo district. The MOU became effective on December 3, 2012. It’s five-year expiry date, if the project doesn’t move forward, would be this coming December.

Though not officially confirmed, word has been that Hansen and Seattle mayor Ed Murray spoke following the denial of a crucial street vacation for the SoDo project last May. Hansen is said to have had no objections to the city exploring potential arena options at the Seattle Center site.

Hansen and his group have offered up an amended proposal for their project that would include no public financial contribution. They are expected to file for the street vacation again soon.

At least two developers, AEG and Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group, are expected to respond to the proposal. The buzz is that AEG currently has a bit of a lead as they have managed KeyArena for the city since the Seattle SuperSonics departed for Oklahoma City back in 2008.

If the city elects to go with a KeyArena proposal for a new arena, if found feasible, City Hall sources tell Daniels they expect the process to take roughly five years from proposal to actual opening of the new facility.

Mayor Murray offered a prepared statement on the RFP to KING5:

“We have a unique opportunity to reimagine KeyArena and continue the growth and redevelopment of Seattle Center. There is significant interest in working with the City of Seattle to create a civic arena that fulfills the current and future needs of our growing city that serves the greatest number of community members. I, along with others at the City, are looking forward to reviewing proposals with the community. We are 100 percent committed to finding the best deal for Seattleites.”

Read more details about the RFP at KING5.


The city now has a page on their site dedicated to the KeyArena RFP with FAQs and a download of the RFP.