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$930M WA Arena Files for Carbon Certification

Monday, January 11, 2021

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While work is continuing at Seattle’s $930 million Climate Pledge Arena, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke recently confirmed that in addition to being outfitted for hockey and other live events, the venue would also be equipped to handle an NBA expansion into the city, a notion that had been dismissed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver until a few weeks ago.

In addition to entertaining NBA-specific tweaks in the structure’s design, the project is still on track to meet its carbon-neutral goal and open in October of this year.

In terms of climate goals, the arena and OKG submitted the project’s registration to the International Living Future Institute, a move needed to become the first arena to be Zero Carbon certified.

While the arena has retained its original, historically registered roof and exterior glass, many other changes are taking place to get the arena zero carbon ready, such as:

  • All natural gas implements have been removed from the site and are being replaced with electric substations;
  • A rainwater storage tank has been added that will recycle water and use it for operations such as ice making;
  • Solar panels are being added to the iconic roof, which is being overseen by various historical commissions; and
  • For every event, operators will track trips (such as whether a family arrived by venue or bus) so that it can pay for carbon offsets to keep the venue 100% carbon neutral.
Amazon

While work is continuing at Seattle’s $930 million Climate Pledge Arena, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke recently confirmed that in addition to being outfitted for hockey and other live events, the venue would also be equipped to handle an NBA expansion into the city, a notion that had been dismissed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver until a few weeks ago.

Apart from the climate-goal additions, Leiweke recently went on record to state that so far nearly $50 million of the arena’s cost has gone toward outfittings that are specific to the NBA—just in case an expansion happens.

Up until now, Silver had dismissed an expansion idea to Seattle so soon, however, his tune has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of our focuses as the league office is always on ‘How do you create better competition,’” Silver said. “So that’s one of the things that we continue to think about as we consider expansion. … It’s an economic issue and it’s a competitive issue for us. So, it’s one that we’ll continue to study, but we’re spending a little bit more time on it than we were pre-pandemic.”

Project Background

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

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.

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

In January 2020, the roof entered its “floating phase,” when it was suspended by the temporary structure of 72 steel columns. New foundation was also poured at that time.

In May, exterior wall work began as the project was able to remain unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the arena floor was complete—53 feet below ground, about 15 feet deeper than the original floor—giving the space its new square footage of just over 800,000.

August of last year is when the climate proposal and the Amazon deal was announced as the arena renovation went into “full building mode” following the completion of the floor and excavation.

Later, in October, officials went on record to say that despite a month-long delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the arena work was still operating on schedule.

   

Tagged categories: Carbon footprint; Green building; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Renovation; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Sustainability

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