This afternoon, the City Council voted 8-0 to approve the renovation and lease of Key Arena by Oak View Group, setting up the project to move forward quickly.
There were no last-minute attempts to modify the agreements; rather, Council members Johnson and O’Brien focused their ongoing concerns about transportation impacts into a companion resolution that requires regular reporting back to the Council over the next two years on transportation projects related to the Arena project.
Since there were no appeals of the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the project, OVG can move forward with the permitting process for demolition and construction of what is effectively a new arena underneath the existing roof (a protected historic landmark). The only significant hurdle is still needs to jump is to obtain an NHL franchise; under the agreement between the city and OVG, demolition may not begin until OVG has an NHL franchise under contract to play in the renovated Arena. OVG delivers its pitch to the NHL next week, and the NHL is widely expected to grant an expansion franchise in the coming weeks in time for a December groundbreaking.
Mayor Durkan is wasting no time in moving the agreement forward — she intends to sign it tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at a ceremony at Seattle Center.