News and Information

Where Seattle’s Legacy

Meets Seattle’s Future

“Seattle has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embark on a transformational project that will revitalize a historic landmark for future generations, build a world-class sports and entertainment venue unlike any other in the world, and enhance the urban experience at Seattle Center and its surrounding neighborhoods – all at no risk to the City or to taxpayers.”

- Tim Leiweke, Oak View Group CEO
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The Seattle Center Arena will:
  • Host the Seattle Storm and WNBA basketball
  • Provide a home for the NBA if a team returns to Seattle
  • Host professional hockey if the NHL comes to Seattle
  • Increase the number of top-tier arena concerts and family entertainment events at Seattle Center
  • Establish Seattle, alongside Los Angeles and New York, as home to one of the premier, historic live-entertainment venues in the world
A commitment to Seattle’s values, character and sense of place
At the epicenter of Seattle arts and culture

Reactivating the full sports-and-live-entertainment potential of the Seattle Center Arena will round out the already incredible range of experiences available at Seattle Center.

A unique venue for unity and community that is open and accessible to all, Seattle Center is the jewel of the city.

Seattle Center was founded in 1962 on the 21st Century dreams of Seattle World’s Fair. The Seattle Center Arena (“SCA”) both honors Seattle Center’s iconic history and is grounded in Seattle’s dynamic new 21st Century reality.

 

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Consistent with the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, SCA will reactivate the full live-entertainment potential of Seattle Center, and reinforce Seattle Center’s role as the epicenter of arts and culture in the city.

Oak View Group Seattle will provide millions for arts and culture projects and programming in and around Seattle Center. We will also continue to ensure that the arena serves an important civic role by providing the SCA to the City for 14 free events each year, allowing the City to continue to host essential activities like the Public Health Fair for the community.

A full partner with the surrounding communities

OVG will enter into a Community Benefits Agreement with community organizations to foster equity and social justice and provide benefit to the communities that will be affected by the Arena, including supporting programs and services for youth, arts, sports, music, and culture.

OVG will establish a charitable foundation to administer at least $20 million in community funds for organizations that serve the greater Seattle area and the communities surrounding Seattle Center.  As part of this, $10 million has been committed to YouthCare, a non-profit organization serving homeless youth

Seamless community integration

We will strive to be an engaged community partner in addressing potential noise, garbage, parking, security and public safety impacts.

We will engage with business and residents on how best to accommodate the people, commerce, energy and vitality that SCA will bring.

As these surrounding communities look towards the future, OVG Seattle will seek to support and embrace each neighborhood’s urban framework.

Significant community investment

OVG Seattle was proud to pledge $10 million to YouthCare to help end youth homelessness and create opportunities for at-risk youth.

Our commitment to building a better Seattle transcends sports and entertainment, and we plan to contribute an additional $10 million to initiatives vital to Seattle Center, the surrounding neighborhoods and the city as a whole.

We are also committed to hiring locally, working with women- and minority-owned businesses, and securing labor peace agreements with local unions.

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Mobility solutions for a growing city

Seattle’s unprecedented growth has created transportation challenges in every neighborhood in the city. Oak View Group Seattle will bring innovative solutions to improve mobility in and around the neighborhoods surrounding Seattle Center during events (see below).

OVG will also contribute $40 million to a Transportation Fund, to be administered by the City to address transportation issues in the north downtown area.

Separate from the SEPA/EIS process, a North Downtown Mobility Action Plan will be developed to support transportation improvements for the north downtown neighborhoods; OVG will pay up to $250,000 for a transportation consultant to development and conduct the mobility planning effort.

  • Distributed parking options, including in South Lake Union and near Westlake Station and the Monorail

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  • A mobile parking app to identify and offer pre-purchased parking spots in real time
  • Designated drop-off and pick-up zones for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber, plus discounted rates and other incentives
  • Upgrades to the Seattle Monorail that will increase the monorail’s current 2,250-passenger-per hour capacity, offering nonstop service between Westlake Station and Seattle Center and convenient connections to light rail, street car and bus routes serving downtown Seattle
  • Secure bicycle facilities, enhanced biking and walking connections, and pricing incentives to encourage bike travel will make NASC one of the most bike-friendly venues in the country
  • Designated drop-off and mobility hubs will prioritize pedestrian access around plaza entrances and increase safety

We are confident that SCA will enhance, vitalize, and improve connections with the neighborhoods surrounding Seattle Center and will improve the overall Seattle Center experience.

Fact vs. Fiction
FICTION:

SCA would bring in more people than the neighborhoods can handle.

FACT:

Current capacity for NBA games in KeyArena is 17,072. SCA’s capacity for NBA configurations would be 18,350. The congestion and parking impacts of events at the new arena will be similar to those at the existing arena, just more frequent.

FICTION:

There are no good public transit options into Seattle Center.

FACT:

Sound Transit light rail currently serves riders as far north as the University District and as far south as SeaTac, offering monorail connections to the Seattle Center at Westlake Station, and transit options from Mt. Baker and King Street stations. Travel time from Westlake Station to Seattle Center is two minutes on the Monorail, which can carry up to 2,250 passengers per hour in each direction. Light rail plans for 2023 will also extend ridership to Lynwood from the north, Federal way to the south, and Renton to the east.

King County Metro also operates 16 bus routes within a half-mile walk of the New Arena at Seattle Center, with 5 additional routes coming online by 2021. This network offers convenient transit service from downtown and the city’s residential communities including Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and First Hill, Mt. Baker, Madrona Park, Madison Valley, Magnolia, Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Ravenna, Greenlake, University District, Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, and North Beach. Find more metro routes serving Seattle Center here.

Parking
FICTION:

There’s far less parking available around Seattle Center than when the Sonics were here.

FACT:

Analysis has shown that there are 13,750 stalls within a fifteen-minute walk of the new arena at Seattle Center or a five-minute walk of the Seattle Center Monorail station – more than double the spaces required to meet the parking demand of 6,100 cars during large events. Read more about OVG’s parking solutions here.

Traffic
FICTION:

SCA would only compound the “Mercer Mess”.

FACT:

While Mercer Street is frequently cited as among the most congested traffic corridors in the city, the vast majority of traffic travels away from Seattle Center during peak event commute period. Learn more about the excess capacity on the 14 inbound routes providing access to the Seattle Center here.

Source: Parametrix mobility study, included as part of Oak View Group’s Proposal for the Transformation of the Arena at Seattle Center. To view the study, click here.

Did you know?
Frequently asked questions

OVG is built on a 30-year relationship between Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff as friends and business partners throughout their time leading their respective sectors and businesses in sports and entertainment. Leiweke and Azoff have a major role in how we experience modern-day live entertainment. They launched OVG with James Dolan and MSG to create a company focused on innovating the sports, facilities and live entertainment industry. OVG also includes the following divisions: Arena Alliance, OVG Consulting, OVG Ventures, Prevent Advisors, Narrative Partners, Appetize, SportsTechie and OVG Conferences and Publications, including Pollstar, VenuesToday, and VenuesNow.

Construction of OVG’s tenant improvements to the Arena will be financed privately by OVG with no City financing; the current project cost estimate is $600 million. All costs and potential cost-overruns of construction and arena operations are the responsibility of OVG.

 

The City is entitled to rent to cover the City’s current base revenue generated by KeyArena, the 1st Avenue North Parking Garage and campus sponsorship rights, known as “Baseline Rent.”

 

OVG will assume the risk of cost overruns during construction including the risk increased cost due to unknown environmental conditions.

 

OVG will be responsible for Arena operations and maintenance of the facility over the life of the Lease Term; OVG will assume the risks and costs of operating and maintaining the arena.

 

OVG must maintain the facility to an operating standard suitable for serving as the home facility for NHL and NBA teams, and not less than consistent with the standards of quality and performance comparable to the United Center in Chicago, the TD Garden in Boston and the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Can OVG attract an NHL and NBA team?

OVG Co-founder and CEO Tim Leiweke, together with his partners David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer, have filed an application for a new NHL franchise in Seattle. Bonderman and Bruckheimer will have a majority interest in the NHL team and an ownership interest in SCA. The goal of this participation is to create alignment of interests between the team(s) and the arena. There are successful examples around the country of shared buildings, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas. If an NBA team becomes available, Tim Leiweke and David Bonderman, partial owner of the Boston Celtics, will work with the NBA to attract a suitable ownership group.

Is building a new arena at Seattle Center a good idea with the transportation issues we have in that area?

Yes, the downtown growth is moving toward Seattle Center. Key Arena has been hosting events for over fifty years. Seattle Center serves over 12-million visitors each year. OVG is replacing an existing arena. We will be increasing the capacity of Seattle Center by less than ten-percent. We will be increasing the frequency of events at the arena from just over 100 to approximately 140 per-year. That number would increase if we secure an NHL or NBA team(s). We believe we should be locating these entertainment facilities near where people live and work, and play.

Is the Seattle Center Arena pedestrian accessible?

Yes. In fact, by the time SCA is open, Seattle Center will be even more accessible to pedestrians from every direction.

Excellent access already exists from the north, south and west sides. The re-connection of the street grid after the Alaskan Way tunnel is completed will boost walking routes on Thomas Street as part of the Lake2Bay walking trail that connects Lake Union to Elliot Bay. In addition, OVG Seattle will work with the city to expedite enhanced biking and walking connections on 5th Avenue between Westlake and Seattle Center to make it more pedestrian and bike-friendly.

Who will own the land?

The City and OVG will sign a 39-year lease with two, eight-year renewable options (for a potential total of 55 years).

How will OVG attract world-class talent to Seattle?

Our partner, Live Nation, touches 71 million fans at 26,000 events in nearly 200 venues worldwide. The Live Nation team exists on local, regional and national levels and consists of experienced industry veterans as well as young emerging talent, each with a track record of success. Our local team is led by Jeff Trisler, president of the Seattle division of Live Nation, who is a Seattle native with 36 years of concert promotion experience in Seattle. For the first time in its history, Live Nation will make an investment in an arena because it sees the opportunity at Seattle Center.

Will OVG keep the Key Arena roof?

OVG has respectfully retained the iconic features of the Seattle Center Coliseum that have taken its rightful place alongside other iconic landmarks, like the Space Needle, Pacific Fountains and others. OVG plans to restore and re-emphasize the key elements of the Paul Thiry design.

Does OVG believe Key Arena is a Historical Landmark?

We have prioritized the preservation of the iconic landmark design features of the roofline and support structure. Future generations will continue to recognize the iconic façade and embrace the historic foundation on which we will build our transformational arena project. Preservation of significant landmarks is part of our ownership DNA. Look no further than our partner, MSG, and its successful effort to preserve the Forum in Los Angeles as a landmark building, as well as the Garden with the most expensive restoration project in our industry history. Sports arenas of this era are increasingly threatened and are becoming rare. Our vision is to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its association with the World’s Fair. OVG has achieved the first hurdle by having Washington’s State Historic Preservation Office declare the arena eligible for the national designation.

Will SCA meet the requirements of the NBA and NHL?

While there are not objective standards provided by either the NHL or NBA, OVG believes its design will be one of the finest arenas in the NBA or NHL. OVG has assembled a world-class project team in partnering with Populous, one of the world’s premier sports architecture firms, and ICON, the foremost project manager/owner’s representative in the field of sports facility construction. The combination of OVG’s executive team’s experience, led by Tim Leiweke, with that of the experience of Populous and ICON should leave no doubt this project is compliant with NBA/NHL standards. OVG believes it has designed an arena that will be technology advanced, family friendly, and loud.

Will a music-first approach to building an arena impact the ability to attract an NHL or NBA team?

No. OVG’s approach of building a world-class music, sports and entertainment venue will provide the best chance of attracting NBA and NHL teams. History supports our belief that the NBA or the NHL will come when a suitable arena is built. The only way to privately finance an arena without a team is to have a robust music and entertainment calendar. If we attract teams, we will adjust the music programming to accommodate the Storm, NBA and NHL schedules before booking other events to ensure teams can be competitive.

The Arena will be designed to accommodate 17,300 for hockey games, 18,350 for basketball games, and between 16,940 and 19,125 for concerts.

OVG will provide a state-of-the-art civic Arena to attract and present music, entertainment and sports events, potentially including National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) teams.

OVG will pursue an NBA team and an NHL team to be the resident home teams and play their home games at the Arena.

OVG will bear all costs of improvements to or enhancements of the Arena that may be required by the NBA, NHL or any other third party, in connection with obtaining and maintaining such team(s).

Each team will maintain its corporate headquarters in Seattle.

What makes SCA a 50-year building for NHL, NBA and music fans?

The redevelopment of SCA will transform the complex to be competitive for acquiring a professional NHL and NBA franchise, as well as for the City of Seattle, providing a truly unique and intimate experience for the WNBA Seattle Storm, indoor football and soccer, esports, concerts and family entertainment events.

OVG is increasing the current 410,000 sq. feet area to over 670,000 sq. feet, much below grade. Seating capacities will range from 17,100 for hockey to 18,350 for basketball and up to 19,100 for concert configurations.

The overall redevelopment includes a completely redesigned and reconstructed arena bowl (that will meet NHL/NBA/entertainment standards). The pitches on the ends of SCA are steeper than typical seating bowls which allows for better sightlines for basketball and hockey. The 8,680 lower bowl seats for NHL will also create an energy near the ice that few arenas can replicate. SCA will not just be adequate for the NHL and NBA, it will be extraordinary.

Our Arena Partners

Our Arena Partners

http://storm.wnba.com/
http://www.seattlecenter.com/