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General Contractor Replaced for Seattle Arena

Monday, December 17, 2018

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Less than a week after the groundbreaking of Seattle’s new arena, officials announced that the general contractor for the project has been replaced.

Arena investors said last week that they have come to a “mutual agreement” with the Skanska-Hunt joint venture to part ways in terms of the project and that the JV is being replaced with Mortenson. Developer Oak View Group has also added architecture firm Rockwell Group to design the club level and suites.

What Happened

Officials say that the change will not impact the project’s timeline and was prompted by the rising costs—the estimate was initially at $600 million and had increased since up to $850 million last week. Any costs incurred because of the change will be absorbed by OVG.

Images: Populous

Less than a week after the groundbreaking of Seattle’s new arena, officials announced that the general contractor for the project has been replaced.

“Mortenson’s local Seattle office spent five months leading pre-construction efforts on the arena project and is very familiar with our approach and goals,’’ Ken Johnsen, senior construction executive on the project, said in a release.

“Given the market challenges and shift in timing, it did not make sense for our joint venture to move forward to the next phase of the project, so we recently came to a mutually agreed upon decision to end our joint venture’s involvement with the arena project,” added Skanska executive vice-president Kevin McCain.

The Seattle Times reports that much of the cost hikes are attributed to changes made by OVG as well as the National Hockey League, the rise in building material costs and the shortage of skilled labor.

“We’re already deep into the transition process and look forward to assisting Oak View Group with its building of a world class, landmark venue for our great city,” Mortenson senior vice-president John Nowoj said, also in the news release.

“Our company holds core to our mission: a commitment to excellence in economic inclusion and supplier diversity that will ensure we maximize the local impact and value of this tremendous project.”

Project Review

The Seattle City Council took the final step in green-lighting the redevelopment of KeyArena in September, unanimously approving the deal with The Seattle Arena Company, or ArenaCo, including OVG, which released information about the project in August. Oak View at the time tapped the joint venture of Skanska and AECOM Hunt as the general contractor of the project, with Populous as the architect and CAA ICON as project manager.

The Seattle Times reports that much of the cost hikes are attributed to changes made by OVG as well as the National Hockey League, the rise in building material costs and the shortage of skilled labor.

For the project, all updates to the structure will be done without touching the arena’s famous roofline. Since KeyArena is a designated historic building, four supporting pylons will first be installed so that the entire interior can be redone. The playing floor will reportedly drop 15 feet, to 58 feet below grade, allowing playing lines for hockey and basketball to line up.

An additional 50,000 square feet will be added for more storage and premium club space, which will offer views of the Space Needle. The capacity for the venue will be expanded to 17,400 for NHL games at 18,600 for NBA, meaning the building’s area will grow to 750,000 square feet.

Though an NBA team isn’t in the works now, it is a long-term goal for the city. (Seattle’s previous team, the SuperSonics, left for Oklahoma City in 2008.)

Originally, the project was supposed to be completed in time for the 2020-21 NHL season, but officials have now pushed back that date almost an entire year, looking at a spring 2021 target.

   

Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Construction; General contractors; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Ongoing projects; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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