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SONICS HOPE GLITZY NEW ARENA IS KEY TO THEIR SUCCESS
Published October 24, 1995
Seattle's renovated KeyArena was open for media inspection yesterday, with its debut Thursday night. Bill Knight compares to other new facilities like GM Place in Vancouver and the Rose Garden in Portland writing that city leaders in Seattle "are proud that no taxes are being levied" to pay for the KeyArena at Seattle Center. But the contribution of the Sonics, upward of $20M, "still shrinks by comparison with the amounts being invested by Portland and B.C. franchise-holders." Seattle Center Dir Virginia Anderson said if the arena had been constructed on any other site, the total cost would have been $13M or more. She also said revenue from the facility "will not only pay off the 20-year bonds but will contribute" $1M a year toward the "success" of the Seattle Center. Knight reports one element is "missing": enough seating in a hockey configuration to attract an NHL team. KeyArena Owner Barry Ackerley, who also owns the Sonics, insisted the arena "wouldn't create enough revenue to support two major-league teams, and city leaders agreed. The result: no place for NHL hockey and a monopoly for the Sonics" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/24). A dozen of the 58 luxury suites in the arena remain unsold. The unleased suites are reportedly in the least-expensive price range, $55,000/year for long-term deals (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/24).