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Landmarks Preservation Board to meet on 6/21/2017, over KeyArena

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City of Seattle

You have an opportunity to provide input to the landmark recommendation status, in person and by email.

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of several Seattle Center buildings to include: KeyArena, West Court Building, NASA Building, and Blue Spruce Apartments on the Seattle Center campus and Bressi Garage/Pottery Northwest at 226-232 1st Ave N.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 21 at 3:30 p.m. in Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue) in the Bertha Knight Landes Room (1st Floor).

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments regarding the nomination. Verbal comments will be limited to one minute per person or three minutes for a representative of an organization.

With limited time for verbal comment, written comment is encouraged via email or letters that can be shared with Board members in advance. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board before 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 19 to Erin Doherty at Erin.Doherty@seattle.gov or by mail to the following address:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

PO Box 94649

Seattle, WA 98124-4649

Attn: Erin Doherty

A copy of the Landmark Nomination is available for public review at the Queen Anne Branch Library (400 W. Garfield St) beginning May 26 and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ office in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, 4th Floor (206-684-0228). It is also posted on Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website under the heading of “Current Nominations.”

Paul Thiry buildings highlighted in blue, Seattle Landmarks Preservations Board
city of Seattle

My 2¢:

My preference for landmark status is that it is granted to the Paul Thiry collection of buildings at Seattle Center. Further, I hope the city approves/concurs with the landmark status.

My hope is for the city to return KeyArena to the size and scale of one of its previous namesakes, the 13,200 seat Seattle Center Coliseum, and for the other building exterior surfaces to be worthy of public display.

More precisely, I prefer that the city consider the 13,200 seat scale of the old Seattle Center Coliseum as the arena’s preferred size. Please, do consider that the 13,200 seat arena is (very) roughly described in scale by Scenario C of the 2015 AECOM report on KeyArena, except the interior seating space is subdivided. Although Scenario C has 14,125 seats total, the larger section has 11,878 seats and just 2,905 seats in the smaller section. The roofline and square footprint would be able to remain in tact, its exterior largely unchanged.

2015 AECOM

The city council should issue a Request For Proposals now for Scenario C to at least have responses available for review before final deliberations on a path forward for KeyArena, and siting of a NHL/NBA size arena.

The city council should consider the potential benefits of having both a large sports arena in the Sports Overlay District in SoDo and a scaled down arena at Seattle Center for a rapidly growing region.

The city should consider and potentially act on it by approving both SoDo and Seattle Center locations, and taking the time Seattle Center will need to bring their designs and plans to final city council approval. If the NHL or NBA are ready for Seattle before Seattle Center is, then SoDo could move forward and help fund a KeyArena remodel.

The city council should consider using some of the “one time” unencumbered arena construction tax revenues from an arena in SoDo. Use those taxes as a “public” portion in a public/private, right sized remodel of KeyArena with modern amenities and acoustics. It would be absurd for anybody to claim that the city would have a minor financial commitment to a large sports arena rebuild of KeyArena, but would be somehow completely on the hook for a modern scaled down remodel.

According to the KeyArena remodel proposers, the programming dates the city has identified needing are for 14 dates a year, for events like Bumbershoot. Does the city need a 18,000 seat arena 14 times a year, or would an arena with two different theater sizes, 11,878 and 2,905, actually be more useful to the city for those 14 days? Well?

According to a recent traffic analysis, Lower Queen Anne's arena tip-over point for significant traffic delays are events greater than 10,000. Traffic and parking mitigation above and beyond the demand KeyArena regularly places on the area is reduced.

The Monorail should be used to absorb more people and more frequently for a slightly smaller venue if the needs by technologically integrated with the other modes of transit. The scope of upgrades should not be as great to serve a portion of 11,878 people rather than 17,750 people.

And… The city should consider that the potential opportunity to approving both SoDo and Seattle Center could result in something great at both SoDo and Seattle Center, one helping to fund the other.

Finally, a new arena in SoDo should mean having the means to also take more of a restorative approach to the Paul Thiry buildings, and KeyArena in particular. The city council should approve both SoDo and Seattle Center proposals, with SoDo potentially and partially funding a smaller remodel.

If the city council determines that an arena in SoDo and a smaller venue in Seattle Center is still "no", then I prefer the Oak View Group's approach to the building's roofline. It is more in keeping with the elements that the Landmark Preservation Board building criteria.

In any scenario, I prefer that KeyArena retain its original roofline and square footprint.

[revised for minor edits, punctuation]