Ever since the SuperSonics departed Seattle in 2008, there have been steady rumors about the city vying for another pro sports franchise -- in the NHL or NBA, possibly even both.
On Monday, that bid for another team took a big step when the city approved a redevelopment deal for KeyArena, the multi-purpose arena located just north of downtown Seattle. The building was opened in 1962 and housed the SuperSonics up until the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City. The arena is currently home to the WNBA's Seattle Storm, as well as Seattle University's basketball team.
The Seattle City Council voted 7-1 to approve a $600 million renovation for the arena. The project would be financed by the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group, which claims it can begin construction next year.
Here are some renderings of the proposed renovations to the building:
The redevelopment approval paves the way for a shiny new building that could lure a new sports franchise to the city by 2020. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed last month that the league has interest in bringing a team to Seattle, but would explore the possibility further only if the city were to have an arena at the ready.
Now that KeyArena is poised for new life, the talks to bring a hockey team to the city -- either via expansion or relocation -- could heat up in the days and months ahead. Rumors of a new Seattle NBA franchise might not be far behind, either.