Seattle City Council approves MOU for renovation of Key Arena

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson/AP

By a margin of 7-1, the Seattle City Council approved a $600 million proposal by Tim Leiweke and his Los Angeles-based Oak View Group to renovate Key Arena – the home of the Seattle Storm.

The seal of approval by the Seattle City Council brings the arena debate in Seattle past a major checkpoint as it puts Key Arena in position to be the future home of an NHL team as well as an NBA franchise in addition to the Storm.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council gave its seal of approval to an extension of the Storm’s lease at Key Arena until 2028. Part of the agreement include a clause where the city would pay the Storm’s owners, Force 10 Hoops, $100,000 annually. It is expected that while KeyArena is being renovated, the Storm will be displaced.

Councilman Mike O’Brien was the lone voice of opposition as he, according to KING-TV 5 in Seattle (NBC), said he could not vote for the agreement without an eleventh-hour amendment that would give Oak View “exclusivity” for a Seattle arena.

Chris Daniels at KING 5 also reported that Ginny Gilder, a Storm owner, wrote a letter to Council President Bruce Harrell giving her thumbs up to the redone Key.

One jarring detail of the KeyArena vote was the timing – December 4th which was one day after a similar memorandum of understanding with Bay Area-based hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and his investment group had expired.

The Hansen-led group has proposed to build an arena in Seattle’s SoDo District in hopes of attracting NBA and NHL franchises as well. They also released a statement regarding the vote by the Seattle City Council.

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