The City of Seattle is seeking proposals from parties interested in redeveloping and operating KeyArena at Seattle Center as a world-class civic arena presenting music, entertainment, and sports events, including the potential for NBA and NHL events. Responses are due to the Office of Economic Development by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017. For more information, email OED at OED@seattle.gov.
View the press release
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why renovate or redevelop KeyArena?
A: The City of Seattle was approached by several parties interested in redeveloping KeyArena.
The last major renovation to KeyArena was in 1995. As owners of the arena, the City is committed to a redevelopment plan that provides a venue to serve the civic and entertainment needs of our region, enhances the vibrancy of Seattle Center and surrounding neighborhoods, and could open the door to possible NBA and NHL teams.
Q: What impact does this have on the current MOU agreement for a possible SoDo arena?
A: The City remains fully committed to the terms of the MOU, and is supportive of ArenaCo's efforts to return NBA basketball and attract NHL hockey to Seattle. However, the City must also consider the potential opportunity represented by KeyArena, should the MOU not be fulfilled and/or the ArenaCo project not move forward.
Q: Will the redevelopment of KeyArena bring an NBA and/or NHL team to Seattle?
A: The City is looking for proposals from all interested parties that will redevelop and operate KeyArena as a world-class civic arena offering music, entertainment and sporting events, including the potential for NBA and NHL events.
Q: Why now?
A: We feel the timing is right, given the growth of the City. The City of Seattle was approached by several parties interested in redeveloping KeyArena. We also are at a place in time where we need to focus on the future of Seattle Center. We are in a unique situation with significant interest in the city's options for music, entertainment, and sporting events. We are in the midst of a holistic Seattle Center planning and visioning process that includes a mobility strategy. Given the age of the building, KeyArena does not meet current standards, and this creates an opportunity to develop a world-class arena.
Q: How will this impact transportation in the region if KeyArena is booked an additional 80-100 nights a year?
A: KeyArena, alongside Seattle Center, currently hosts approx. 100 events each year. Over 12 million people visit Seattle Center every year, and many events are planned during non-peak traffic times. However, as a part of the RFP, we've asked all submitters to provide new strategies and fund mitigation of transportation impacts due to construction and operation as a part of their proposal to help address this concern.
Q: Will the renovation require any public funds?
A: In the RFP, we ask that all proposers be responsible for 100 percent of the funding to complete the redevelopment, construction, and operation of the new Arena.
Q: What is the timeline of the RFP process?
A: All proposals to the RFP are due by April 12, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. PST. Interested parties and the public can view the proposal online at the City's website in its eBids section (http://ebidexchange.com/seattle) and http://www.seattle.gov/arena. Recommendations will be provided to the Mayor by the end of June 2017.
Q: How will you involve the community in the RFP process?
A: The City is committed to regularly updating the community, including area residents and businesses, on the progress of the RFP and potential future impacts.
Q: Do you know of any companies or people who are interested in bidding on this project?
A: We look forward to reviewing proposals from anyone who is qualified to bid on the work. We don't want to name anyone at this time so as not to discourage anyone who might be interested in proposing.
Q: Why move forward with KeyArena when SoDo is an option?
A: We need to focus on a plan that can work for the City and our residents. KeyArena has housed many entertainment options and sporting events throughout its history. We are committed to finding a viable solution that provides a venue that supports the civic and entertainment needs of our region. The City remains fully committed to the terms of the MOU between the City, King County, and ArenaCo. The City is supportive of ArenaCo's efforts to return NBA basketball and attract NHL hockey to Seattle. The City must also consider the potential opportunity represented by KeyArena, should the MOU not be fulfilled and/or the ArenaCo project not move forward.
Q: Is the City of Seattle in communication with the NBA or NHL?
A: We have had ongoing conversations with both organizations through the years, and we remain in contact with them.
Q: Are you committed to rebuilding KeyArena without a guarantee of an NBA or NHL team?
A: We are exploring all of our options at this time. What we can say is that we are focusing on a venue that can accommodate music, entertainment, and civic events. We also require proposals to meet NBA and NHL standards.
Q: What is the timeframe of the redevelopment project?
A: Details are spelled out in the RFP, which can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/arena. We are expecting to receive proposals in April. Proposers are being asked to include an estimated schedule, which may include landmark and SEPA review, design, permitting, and construction. The specific timing remains to be determined, but we estimate that planning to completion of construction will take approximately five years.
Q: What does the RFP include as part of its redevelopment request?
A: It is the KeyArena site and the property south to John Street. Specifically, it includes these buildings and properties: KeyArena, West Court Building, NASA Building, Restroom Pavilion, Seattle Center Pavilion, Blue Spruce Building, 1st Ave N Parking Garage, Pottery Northwest/Park Place.
Q: Is KeyArena designated a landmark?
A: A 2013 landmark study performed for Seattle Center indicates that KeyArena meets all six of the criteria for landmark designation. The City of Seattle has initiated the process to review landmark status of the facility. We will take this into careful consideration and are asking our RFP responders to do the same. The City of Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board, working with the Department of Neighborhoods, is responsible for administering the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
Q: Can proposers submit plans for entirely new construction?
A: The RFP requires proposers to submit a plan that presumes KeyArena is designated a landmark. If they submit a plan that renovates the existing structure assuming it is landmarked, then they have the option to also submit a plan that consists of entirely new construction. They are not permitted to submit an entirely new construction plan without also submitting a plan assuming KeyArena is landmarked.
Q: What has happened to KeyArena since the Sonics left in 2008?
A: In 2016 alone, the arena welcomed approx. 570,000 guests at nearly 100 events, up from 531,000 guests in the previous year. 2016 marked the sixth straight year that KeyArena ranked in the Pollstar top 100 arenas worldwide based on concert ticket sales. It also marks the sixth year in a row the arena has generated a significant net revenue. Those funds are used to support Seattle Center public programming and the entire campus.
In 2017, KeyArena will host the WNBA Seattle Storm, Seattle University Men's Basketball, WWE Smackdown, Ariana Grande, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shawn Mendes, Chris Tomlin, Harlem Globetrotters, 2017 PAC-12 Women's Basketball Tournament, WNBA All-Star 2017 game, Lionel Ritchie and Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, and many more.
Q: What will happen to KEXP and the other nearby facilities?
A: Facilities north of KeyArena including KEXP, Vera Project, SIFF and the North Plaza are not included in the boundaries of the redevelopment site.
Q: Who is managing the request for proposals?
A: The City of Seattle through the Office of Economic Development (OED), led by Director Brian Surratt.
Q: Who do I contact if I have questions or input?
A: The general public can email OED at OED@Seattle.gov. Press should reach out to OED's PIO.