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Focus Shifts at $930M Seattle Arena Reno

Thursday, January 30, 2020

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The $930 million Seattle Center Arena renovation has reportedly entered its “floating phase,” according to officials who opened the site up to the media last week.

This entails the 44-million-pound roof to be supported by a temporary structure, made up of 72 steel columns.

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 Oak View Group. Oak View (OVG) 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 $930 million Seattle Center Arena renovation has reportedly entered its “floating phase,” according to officials who opened the site up to the media last week.

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 2018.

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 May 2019, the budget was updated to the $930 million price tag with an opening date of June 2021.

What Now

Excavation is nearly complete at the site, officials say, and the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of dirt is slated to finish up at the end of February.

Workers are now starting to pour the foundation for the new arena as well, under the temporarily held-up roof. A feat that Mortenson executive Greg Huber says has never been done at this size.

"It’s very, very unique especially in the world of sports construction to temporarily support an entire roof, build a new arena underneath it,” he said. “We haven’t done it before and we don’t think it’s ever been done in the world to this scale and to this magnitude.”

In addition to the foundation work, scaffolding is also hanging from the roof so that workers can make seismic and other upgrades.

The rest of 2020 will reportedly be largely spent adding new steel framing to the arena’s walls.

   

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

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