SBD/January 12, 2017/Facilities

Seattle Issues RFP For KeyArena Renovation For Potential NBA, NHL Tenants

Renovation proposals for KeyArena are due to the city of Seattle by April 12
The city of Seattle yesterday issued an RFP to "renovate KeyArena for potential NBA and NHL use that calls for all-private construction financing and a lease arrangement with any interested developers," according to a front-page piece by Baker & Beekman of the SEATTLE TIMES. The city would "maintain ownership of KeyArena, and any developer with an accepted proposal would pay a rental fee and assume all costs for maintenance and arena operations." The developer "could sell naming rights for the upgraded venue as well as sponsorships and gain additional revenues via ticket sales and other routes." Baker & Beekman note "it’s possible, though unlikely, the 55-year-old arena could avoid historical-preservation status and be torn down and rebuilt from scratch." Developers "should assume they must renovate the structure within the confines of its existing spine and iconic roof." Those submitting proposals, due April 12, must include a "renovation plan within the existing structure but also can submit a full demolition and rebuild plan in case that option becomes available" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/12).

LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE? AEG Facilities President Bob Newman said that his company is "prepared to embark on a major KeyArena remodel regardless of whether NBA or NHL teams are first secured." He said that AEG's focus is on a "stand-alone 'world-class' facility for concerts and other events and adaptable for NBA and NHL use if needed." In Seattle, Geoff Baker noted AEG has "managed marketing for KeyArena" since '08 and saw it become a "moneymaking facility with annual net revenues" between $309,000 and $1.2M. The RFP states that any renovation would have to "assume KeyArena attains landmark status and that its iconic roof would remain intact." Newman said that the city's guidelines "mimic what AEG has done in arena partnerships worldwide," and AEG is "prepared to meet the city’s criteria." He believes KeyArena's current size "won’t hinder plans for a venue of roughly 17,000 seats for NBA or NHL." Newman also said that AEG would "begin construction on the arena alone, regardless of whether teams are prepared to come" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/12). 
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