Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group - one of the development groups hoping to renovate KeyArena - made the media rounds last week, speaking to several outlets about a number of different topics. Here are some of the highlights.
"Let's exhaust this conversation once and for all. Let’s do the necessary engineering studies and architectural studies to figure whether KeyArena (will work for the NBA and NHL), and if so how much is that going to cost," said Leiweke, who left AEG to start Oak View Group in 2015. "That’s what this process is going to do. I think on April 12 we’re going to have that answer."
On the traffic issues in Lower Queen Anne:
“Big news flash. There’s a traffic issue in Seattle.’’
“The Monorail is a great, unused opportunity. Because the fact is, we do have light rail that connects to this particular arena. But the light rail requires people understanding Monorail.’’
“I’m big on the Monorail. I look at it and go, imagine what we could do if we activate it with technology and upgrade it.”
“I know this is going to sound bizarre, but we are absolutely convinced that drones will have an impact on how people get to the arena in the future. We are thinking through drone transportation and how we would ultimately have areas where people can literally be dropped off 10 years from now with drones. There are drones now that can carry 265 pounds so we are very focused on that.”
KeyArena development overseer Lance Lopes added to KING 5:
"We also think there is a way forward around traffic and parking in this neighborhood. We're going to wait to reveal those opportunities with our RFP. I would simply say up until now there had really never been a cohesive plan around transportation and KeyArena, certainly to the level we're going to undertake if we move forward on this building. We're pleased on what we found."
On bringing teams to the arena:
"Based on the conversations we continue to have, we are extremely comfortable that we are going to be able to pull together a great group, including local owners (and) myself personally, in order to take advantage of the first opportunity that comes our way."
To KING 5:
"I completely understand how they think. I completely understand their view and their opinion of Seattle. I completely understand how they want us to proceed, and I completely understand their feelings as to what this building should be and the timeline that we need to hit in order for them to look at a potential for Seattle to join one or the other, or both. We are following the lead, the direction and the input of Commissioner Bettman and Commissioner Silver."
"(Bettman) is fully dedicated to finding a solution in Phoenix. We cannot, and we will not ultimately go prey on trying to move franchises. That was a major mistake, and we will not make that mistake."
"Our guess from the day a decision is made, and a deal is signed and approved by the city; you're probably three years more in the process. That will not cost us an opportunity."
On technology’s place in the arena:
“When I went through Amazon Go and began to understand what they were doing there, it was like a life-altering moment for us,” he explained. “We immediately began to talk to them about developing a self-service concessions stand in this facility, using their cloud system. They can do it.”
“We’re thinking about a new concept for technology as to the fan experience. It’s very different than what anyone has ever done before. It will be something that Seattle and Seattle Center will be known for.”
On Chris Hansen’s arena:
To KING 5:
"I've always told Chris, 'the best thing that's going to happen for you is once and for all going to determine whether the Seattle Center Arena can work.' If it does work, my guess would be it is a waste of resources. It is a waste and misuse of urban planning and certainly makes no economic sense if it's privatized for two arenas to be built. But that's my own opinion. But I will follow the lead of the mayor and the council."
To KING 5:
"What we don't want to do is a Band-Aid."
"We're gonna come to the end of this, and by the end of this, the community, everyone will get behind one project."