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Volume 24 No. 181
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Seattle Officials Reject Sodo Group's Privately-Financed KeyArena Renovation Proposal

A group proposing to build an arena in Seattle's Sodo District on Thursday "offered a privately funded plan to renovate KeyArena into a smaller-sized concert venue," but the $90-100M proposal was "almost immediately shot down by the city," according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. The city's rejection comes as it is "already finalizing a draft Memorandum of Understanding" with Oak View Group for a $564M renovation of KeyArena so it could house NBA and NHL teams and large concerts. The Sodo group, led by entrepreneur Chris Hansen, said that it was "offering an alternative KeyArena solution in the event its project is ultimately approved." But the offer seemed "unlikely to generate positive city response." The Seattle Office of Economic Development in a statement said, "If the Sodo Arena group was interested in redeveloping KeyArena, they should have submitted their proposal during the RFP process, which would have shown a willingness to work with the city." Baker notes it is "doubtful the Sodo group’s offer to renovate would have survived the RFP process because it doesn't conform to what the city requested." Instead, it "offered to downsize KeyArena by splitting it in half to create a 6,200-seat indoor concert venue on one side and a 3,000-seat outdoor covered amphitheater on the other." A 500-seat music theater "also was proposed" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/8). In Seattle, Melissa Crowe noted OVG's proposal "involves expanding the venue to 17,100 seats for pro hockey, 18,350 for professional basketball and 19,100 for concerts." It is also proposing to lower the "arena floor 15 feet." Meanwhile, Hansen's group "proposes raising the floor to add 525 parking spaces below the arena." The proposal would "follow the completion of construction of the group's Sodo arena" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/7).