For a couple of years, the Seattle Storm will find themselves playing basketball in a stadium other than Key Arena as the Oak View Group renovates it to accommodate NHL and NBA teams.
It appears that Oak View’s $600 million redo of the Key will be even more of an audacious undertaking that previously thought.
Updated designs from Oak View, and its architectural firm Populous, indicate that a huge atrium complex will be constructed on the south end of the arena. The atrium will have three entrances and will be 360 feet across.
We’ve talked about the arena maintaining its cherished, humble character within the neighborhood, within Seattle Center…but this is a remarkable, new identity, this south atrium. Its contemporary nature is very transparent and very inviting and a great first impression for residents and visitors to Seattle Center to embrace.
–Geoff Cheong, associate principle, Populous per KCPQ-TV Q13 Fox Seattle
The arena, which Oak View is currently dubbing as the New Arena at Seattle Center, will be mostly underground as it will take on a four-tiered bowl configuration. One of those four levels, the bridge level, is said to include space for 300 spectators as well as for the press box. Also among the new additions to the venue – a Space Needle club which will include views of the Seattle landmark.
Also, locker rooms are reportedly going to be added for the Storm as well as the NHL and NBA franchises.
Interestingly enough, prior to these most recent renderings, none of the Oak View models featured any team logos – including that of the incumbent Seattle Storm logo as was seen in the renderings proposed by AEG/Seattle Partners before they dropped out of the running. Some of the recently released Oak View renderings does feature the Storm’s insignia.
The Seattle City Council last year approved an extension of the Storm’s lease at Key Arena through 2028. The city has agreed to pay the Storm $100,000 a year for every season the Storm are displaced, meaning Force 10 Hoops could rake in $200,000 from City Hall for the Oak View project. Renovation is scheduled to begin this November, approximately two to three months after the conclusion of the 2018 WNBA season.