Key Arena Wants To Expand

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and the National Basketball League’s SuperSonics are preparing to ask state lawmakers for more than $200 million to nearly double the size of the city’s KeyArena.

The expansion would add about 500 seats to the already existing 17,000 used for Sonics games. It would also make way for new concession stands and restaurants, new offices, additional parking, and a practice court for the basketball team, according to The Seattle Times.

“It’s a concept plan right now,” Seattle Center Director of Communications Kym Allen told Pollstar.

“The expansion connects to every type of business that we do there in the arena – sports, concerts, family shows, ice shows. … It addresses all kinds of aspects of the arena.”

The amount asked for would cover the $180 million project and money still owed from the last time the venue was remodeled.

“It’s not in debt,” Allen added. “The arena was updated around 10 years ago and in order to do that capital work, the city floated bonds for $72 million. The city still owes approximately $50 million. So that’s what the remaining debt is.”

The $200 million would come from existing hotel and sales taxes that originally helped finance the construction of Qwest Field and Safeco Field, according to the Times.

The expansion plan is still in its beginning stages; Allen hopes the project will begin within the next few years.

“But it’s all contingent on when we’re able to get money from the state legislature,” she added.