The city of Seattle and members of Oak View Group have an agreement in place for a privately financed renovation of KeyArena designed to lure NBA and NHL franchises to the area, according to King5.
The renovations would cost an estimated $660 million, with at least $40 million committed to mitigating transportation issues at Seattle Center. They’re scheduled to begin next year and finish by 2020.
An announcement of the deal was set for Tuesday, but was canceled when Seattle mayor Ed Murray resigned from his position following allegations of sexual abuse.
A Memorandum of Understanding was submitted to the Seattle City Council on Tuesday, which the Oak View Group hopes to be approved by Dec. 31.
Oak View Group also has a 39-year lease on the table from the city of Seattle, with two eight-year renewal options should they land NHL and NBA teams, along with investing $168 million in capital improvements.
The renovation to KeyArena would be a major step in bringing NHL and NBA teams to the city of Seattle. The NHL, in particular, has eyed a relocation to Seattle, but the major sticking point has been having a proper arena to play hockey in. The scheduled renovations to KeyArena highlight the plans for an NHL-sized hockey rink, fulfilling the league’s desires.
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the NHL is “being kept apprised” of the scheduled renovations to KeyArena, though they are not in ongoing discussions with the city. The NHL will open the 2017-18 season with 31 teams, with the Vegas Golden Knights as the league’s newest expansion team. Plans are seemingly in the works for the NHL to expand to 32 teams within Gary Bettman’s tenure as league commissioner.
KeyArena opened in 1962 and is the current home of the Seattle Storm of the WNBA and the Seattle Redhawks men’s basketball team. The arena has not seen a renovation since 1995.