NHL Seattle Takes Next Step With Groundbreaking On KeyArena
Seattle's NHL expansion team officially began the "process of renovating KeyArena," as several dignitaries came together yesterday for the groundbreaking, according to Andrew Hammond of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. The renovations will include "upgrades throughout the arena but will keep the iconic roof that sits at the heart of the Seattle Center neighborhood." The cost, "paid by Oak View Group and private equity," will be around $850M. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin said, "We do not have to use taxpayer funds. Thanks to the Leiwekes and others who were committed to this and they said we will build this, we will commit to this city for the long term" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 12/6). The $850M cost is an increase of $200M from the "initial projections for the privately financed project, but the principals involved believe the increased investment is part of making the new building one of the top arenas in the country." The project will "gut the current interior" of KeyArena (ESPN.com, 12/5).
HOPE FOR A SONICS RETURN? In Toronto, Doug Smith wonders what the NHL's expansion to Seattle will "do to a Seattle basketball dream." Is there enough "corporate money, and enough cash in a relatively small population base, to support two big-time winter sports teams when the market is already flush with the Mariners, the Seahawks, a wildly successful WNBA team in the Storm and the crazily popular Sounders of the MLS?" That is a "legitimate question that will surround any hopes the working group in Seattle will face when it presses the issue of an NBA team heading back there" (TORONTO STAR, 12/6).