Seattle clears major hurdle for an NHL team after city council approves KeyArena renovations
The vote comes just a day after the deadline to appeal an environmental review of the project
The Seattle City Council's Select Committee on Civic Arenas approved renovations to KeyArena in a 7-0 vote on Friday, bringing Seattle one step closer to an NHL team. KeyArena -- which served as the home of the Seattle Supersonics from 1967 to 2008 (with some brief excursions to the Kingdome and Tacoma Dome) and now houses the recently-crowned WNBA champion Seattle Storm -- will undergo $700 million of work. The result will be an unrecognizable arena in Seattle Center, per K5 News in Seattle.
The step is a massive one in bringing an NHL team to Seattle, and the vote came just a day after there was an abstention on the appeal deadline for an environmental study of the renovation. by the Seattle City Council, but there was still red tape to be cleared around the demolition of the stadium. Had there been an appeal, it could have thrown off the timeline to demolish KeyArena in December, which in turn could have affected the plans to open the new arena in time for the 2020 season, according to K5 News. That ultimately means that the city of Seattle and the NHL are the only ones who can halt efforts to bring a team to the league, according to The Seattle Times.
The stadium will be privately financed by Oak View Group. According to K5 News, it took months for the select committee to pore over the plans.
Tim Leiweke, who is fronting OVG, has a $650 million bid to put an expansion franchise in Seattle in 2020. According to OVG, it can open the arena by October 2020 -- which of course marks the beginning of hockey season. Per K5 News, OVG will commit to the site for 39 years.
The Seattle City Council will vote on Sep. 24 to ratify the renovations, and a vote for the franchise may come in December, per The Seattle Times. With that being said, you can't have a team without an arena. This is a huge step to bring hockey back to Seattle, and for those treating this process with trepidation, it seems safe to think that Seattle will have a team announced in the not-too-distant future.
And if you're curious about the interest in bringing winter sports back to Seattle after losing the Supersonics a decade ago?
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