Seattle Passes $600M in Renovations to KeyArena; NHL Considering Franchise

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2017

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2015, file photo, KeyArena, which hosts sports and entertainment events, is seen from the air next to the shadow of the Space Needle in Seattle. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday, June 7, 2017, that the city will enter into negotiations with the Oak View Group on a proposal for a privately-financed renovation of the city-owned KeyArena. Plans for the remodel would bring the building up to standards that could attract an NHL hockey or NBA basketball team once completed. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The Seattle City Council voted 7-1 in favor of approving a memorandum of understanding for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena, the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker reported Monday. 

The Seattle Times noted the vote clears the way for the NHL to put a team in the city. Baker reported Sunday that "there are hints the NHL could make a Seattle franchise announcement in the months ahead."

The Seattle Times shared the proposals from the Oak View Group for how KeyArena will look when it's fully renovated in 2020:

The Seattle Times @seattletimes

BREAKING: Seattle City Council approves $600 million renovation of KeyArena. The project could be completed as early as October 2020 (via @GeoffBakerTIMES) https://t.co/rtOH7HntCR https://t.co/fsuS1m436s

Turner Sports analyst David Aldridge provided more context about the council's decision:

David Aldridge @daldridgetnt

The vote puts the Seattle city government squarely behind OVG, headed by longtime sports executive/AEG CEO Tim Leiweke & entertainment manager/mogul Irving Azoff, instead of billionaire Chris Hansen, who has sought to build an arena in the South Downtown section of the city.

Chris Hansen, who failed in his attempt to purchase the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle, led a group which proposed building a new arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood and offered to pay for renovations to KeyArena as well.

The council voted in May 2016 against giving Hansen the land necessary to build the new arena, and Monday's vote is another blow for Hansen's group.

Either building a new arena or making significant upgrades to KeyArena was widely seen as the main roadblock preventing Seattle from getting an NHL franchise or re-entering the NBA. KeyArena was completed in 1962 and underwent a facelift in 1995.

The Seattle SuperSonics called KeyArena home until they relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008. Former NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters at the time the venue "was not an adequate arena going forward."

The Seattle Storm have played in KeyArena since joining the WNBA in 2000. The Seattle City Council approved a 10-year lease in May that will ensure the Storm remain in KeyArena through 2028.