Plans To Restore Seattle’s KeyArena Revealed

Details of a facility proposal that could bring the NBA back to the Pacific Northwest were presented to Seattle’s City Council today, Chris Daniels of King 5 writes, but don’t dust off that vintage Detlef Schrempf jersey just yet.

A press conference to discuss the occasion was scheduled for today but was promptly cancelled after the abrupt resignation of mayor Ed Murray following the latest in a series of sexual abuse allegations.

As Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes, given that Murray had been a been a strong proponent of the proposal to restore 45-year-old KeyArena, the mayoral vacancy could potentially open the door to other parties interested in providing a pro sports-ready venue.

Just last week we discussed how a Chris Hansen-led inevstor group similarly interested in reviving the spirit of the Sonics offered to repurpose KeyArena, but as a smaller scale venue after construction was completed on their own brand new facility in the Sodo District of town (where MLB’s Mariners and the NFL’s Seahawks play).

Shortly after that Hansen group offer was made public, however, a statement from Seattle’s Office of Economic Development said that they should have submitted a formal proposal months prior when the city specifically solicited them.

It was during this formal solicitation period, that Oak View Group, a Los Angeles-based sports development company spearheaded by former Raptors executive Tim Leiweke, did put forth a submission to renovate KeyArena, with intentions of housing both an NHL and an NBA franchise.

It’s at this point where things grow even more complicated.

Back in 2012, Hansen and his group actually came to an agreement with the city that they would build their new arena in the Sodo District but it was contingent on the NBA officially rewarding the city a franchise, which obviously has not happened at this point.

That pact expires in early December, an Associated Press report says, meaning that three months from now, the city will be officially free of their commitment to Hansen and thus eligible to vote on the Oak View Group proposal, which could see renovations on the 45-year-old building starting, possibly, as early as October 2018.

As Daniels explains in his King 5 article, the details of the Memorandum of Understanding revealed today lay out some of the financial obligations that the Oak View Group would have toward the city, the logistics of parking and how inevitable traffic problems could be mitigated.

Whether this all ends up happening, of course, is contingent upon the city voting to approve the proposal later this year. If the Oak View Group’s support weakens with Murray’s sudden absence, for example, we may see an opportunity for Hansen and company to sneak back into the picture.

Alas, as Stone writes, there appears to be a decent amount of inertia behind the Oak View Group’s proposal and “the heft of city politics still seem aligned” behind it.

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8 thoughts on “Plans To Restore Seattle’s KeyArena Revealed

  1. Cap'n Crunch Time

    Silver should bring back the Sonics and add a team in Las Vegas (Vegas Vipers?) to give the league a tournament-friendly 32 teams. Everyone makes the 5-round playoffs (best of 3, best of 5, 5, 7, and 7, repectively). The champion would still have to win 16 games this way. The 16 lower-seeded teams are you draft-lottery teams, lowest gets 16 balls, highest gets 1. For every playoff game win, those teams get to add another ball to the lottery, effectively giving all 32 teams a reason not to tank. This fixes tanking, fixes the lottery, and makes for a fun playoffs. (I miss the best-of-5 first rounds of previous eras!)

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    • Connorsoxfan

      Gives those middle teams a reason to tank into the lottery though. Or even a top team who knows they can perform well in the playoffs. Like GS could tank the regular season, win through, and have like 25 lottery balls.

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    • Cap'n Crunch Time

      My meaning was that only the lower seeded teams could earn more lottery balls, but I could see a 14 or 15 seed possibly trying to move down into the lottery. But I don’t see it so much as “everyone gets a trophy” as much as I was thinking that well over half the games at the end of the season are pointless because teams are either full-out tanking or have already made the playoffs. If you are a bottom team, it seems that this would prevent you from sitting your best players because the higher seed you get, presumably the better matchup you would get in the first round and better chance to earn more lottery balls. And the higher teams would be forced to try harder as well because the shorter those first couple rounds are, the higher the chances for upsets and that would be embarrassing for any top seeded team. Thanks for the feedback everybody. Keep it coming!

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    • Sheldon Bowen

      Make the 82 game season worthless and so we can watch bad basketball for the first month of your playoffs. Like your thought but don’t want to take away from a 82 game season when it already is having competition and injury issues.

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  2. Professional sports shouldn’t be “everybody gets a medal” for working hard and having fun. The regular season would be pointless, attendance and viewership would be down, and teams who sucks would still get unearned playoff revenue. What would be the sense in making a daring trade or signing to try to make yourself a playoff team next year if you already know everyone makes the playoffs.

    I’m sorry, I just really hate that idea. It should not be in kids sports, nor college sports, and definitely not professional sports.

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    • Sheldon Bowen

      Agree. People ask me if I watch college basketball. I reply only in March. Everyone gets in so why watch pointless basketball?

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  3. x%sure

    “Alas, as Stone writes, [the KeyArena reno is winning]… ”
    Someone is rooting for the Hanson plan! Is the reason just because of KeyArena parking issues?

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