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Seattle Arena Renovation Price Jumps to $930M

Friday, May 10, 2019

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The price tag on Seattle’s Center Arena has been bumped up yet again—this time to $900-930 million with a pushed back start date.

Los Angeles-based developer Oak View Group says that no costs have been spared in the design of the arena renovation and says that until now, the group was just working off preliminary estimates.

Some Background

The Seattle City Council took the final step in green-lighting the redevelopment of KeyArena in September 2018, unanimously approving the deal with The Seattle Arena Company, or ArenaCo, which included OVG. 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.

Renderings: Populous

The price tag on Seattle’s Center Arena has been bumped up yet again—this time to $900-930 million with a pushed back start date.

For the project, all updates to the structure will be done without touching the arena’s famous roofline. Since the arena 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.

The new arena will be home to Seattle’s WNBA team the Seattle Storm, with fingers crossed for an NHL team and eventually an NBA team as well.

Originally, the project was supposed to be completed in time for the 2020-21 NHL season with a price tag of $600 million, both of which have been pushed incrementally since the project’s inception.

In August 2018 (before final approval), OVG pointed to steel and aluminum tariffs as part of the reason for the rising price.

The cost hikes were also partly to blame for the replacement of general contractor JV Skanska and AECOM, which was swapped for Mortenson Construction less than a week after the groundbreaking at the end of last year.

“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,” Skanska executive vice-president Kevin McCain said at the time.

Originally, the project was supposed to be completed in time for the 2020-21 NHL season with a price tag of $600 million, both of which have been pushed incrementally since the project’s inception.

The contractor swap allegedly didn’t impact timeline or price tag, though at that time both had ballooned to $850 million and a spring 2021 open date.

What Now

Last month, Seattle Hockey Partners confirmed the latest price increase and start date push.

“I wouldn't call them cost overruns, we were working off of initial estimates, those estimates probably didn't factor in a number of things,” CEO of Seattle Hockey Partners Tod Leiweke told KOMO News.

OVG’s Ken Johnson also told reporters that the pre-construction phase was wrapping up, noting that the seats are out, walls are out and the necessary excavation is completed. The next step is the full demolition of the interior bowl, which will make way for the lowering of the arena floor.

“We didn't value engineer this project, we didn't cut things out and they (Oak View Group owners) didn't ultimately cut corners,” said Leiweke. “This is definitely more money than we all thought but I think—as time marches on—we've also realized how epic this project is.”

Now, the project is looking at a June 2021 opening date, which would put them in line for the WNBA season and NHL expansion draft.

   

Tagged categories: Contractors; Historic Structures; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Renovation; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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