Seattle’s KeyArena could be developed into a multi-purpose facility that would allow it to house an NBA franchise, thus enhancing the prospects of the league returning to the city, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports.
A city-hall source confirmed to Baker that Los Angeles-based Oak View Group is interested in renovating KeyArena into a facility that could accommodate an NBA or NHL team. Last year, an architectural firm oversaw a KeyArena study that concluded the arena could be remodeled at a cost of $285MM, Baker continues.
One of the partners in the Oak View Group, Tim Leiweke, has a pro sports background after previously serving as CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment owns both the Maple Leafs’ NHL and Raptors’ NBA franchises. The Oak View group has held several meetings regarding a KeyArena upgrade with Seattle officials, a source told Baker.
Seattle’s Mayor’s office is expected to issue a Request for Proposals to renovate the facility by December, according to Baker, and the city is then expected to seek bids on a potential renovation. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Seattle Times during the spring that the league remains open-minded to a KeyArena remodel, Baker adds.
The NBA, of course, has some history of returning to cities that lost franchises, mostly recently in Charlotte, as well as New Orleans. It would come as no shock if Seattle, who lost the Sonics franchise to Oklahoma City, becomes a viable destination for a new or current franchise if the KeyArena renovations are made.