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As SoDo deal heats back up, Seattle exploring KeyArena remodel

Just like that, we have dueling arena ideas in the works

Tuesday, Chris Hansen made it known that he and his group are willing to foot the bill for their SoDo arena proposal. If he was expected Seattle mayor Ed Murray to respond with cheers and a parade, he was mistaken.

Instead, according to K5’s Chris Daniels, Murray’s office is “quietly exploring” a major renovation of KeyArena at Seattle Center in order to make that the potential new home to an NBA or NHL franchise.


While it’s been widely regarded that neither the NBA or NHL would accept KeyArena as a home for a new franchise, a 2014 AECOM report suggested that it could be retrofitted to make it work.

The AECOM report suggests the city could complete a gut remodel of the building to make it NBA and NHL compatible at a cost of $285 million. It also says the city could build out a facility that is 644,600 square feet, instead of the current, smaller 353,000 foot structure.

The floor would have to be pivoted 45 degrees in order for hockey and basketball to both work and the roof would likely need to be replaced.

The report also posited that the arena could be redeveloped as an amusement park, aquarium, museum, or even housing.

Murray’s budget director Ben Noble told K5 that they have “been approached by more than one legitimate group.” He also said the city is planning to issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) in December, which may have been part of the impetus for Hansen’s group to make their revised offer.

So now we know two things.

  1. We’re a long way away from the issue of an NBA/NHL-ready arena in Seattle being settled.
  2. Grab your popcorn because now the city has to prove why spending $300M on KeyArena is better than a bunch of billionaires building a new one at no cost to taxpayers.


305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109