This morning, the Select Committee on Civic Arenas made some minor technical amendments to the agreement with Oak View Group for the renovation, lease and operation of Key Arena, then passed it out of committee. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it will be approved by the full Council on September 24th.
Of the seven (mostly technical in nature) amendments proposed for the three transaction agreements, three were withdrawn, including Council member Herbold’s proposal to require OVG to establish a fund to compensate Seattle Center tenants for lost revenues during construction. She said that OVG had objected to the additional financial burden it would place on them, and not wanting to put the deal as a whole in jeopardy she chose to withdraw the amendment.
Herbold also withdrew a proposed amendment that would require OVG to negotiate mitigation measures with the Seattle Children’s Theater. The project’s Environmental Impact Statement noted that there could be significant noise impacts for the theater due to construction. Herbold received assurances that noise mitigation measures will be negotiated as part of the issuance of the Master Use Permit for the construction project instead.
The Council also passed out of committee an ordinance changing the allowed uses of admissions tax revenues to include the city’s rent adjustment payment obligations under the agreement with OVG. Before passing that ordinance, it amended it to clarify that the exception was only for the Arena, and reserving the first $1.3 million of admissions tax revenues for the Office of Arts and Culture to ensure stability in its funding. In 2016, 80% of admissions tax revenues went to the Office of Arts and Culture; last year it was 90%, and in 2018 it’s 100%.
There were no amendments this morning to address the transportation-related aspects of the construction and lease agreements with OVG. However, Council member Johnson announced that on Monday he will be introducing a companion resolution that requests relevant city departments (Seattle Center, SDOT, SDCI, etc.) to work together to produce a coordinated list of anticipated transportation projects related to the Arena, along with funding sources and stated goals for each project.
The agreements were passed out of committee by a 7-0 vote; Council members Sawant and O’Brien were absent. The full Council will vote its final approval of the agreement on Monday afternoon, September 24th . With the news last night that no appeals were filed to the final Environmental Impact Statement, it looks like the Key Arena reservation has a clear path forward.