New $700 million Seattle Center arena will be union built, run

SEATTLE (Aug. 1, 2018) — The Oak View Group (OVG) and the Seattle Hockey Partners (SHP) announced Tuesday that union contractor Skanska/Hunt will build the $700 million arena at Seattle Center with a Community Workforce Agreement. OVG calls the project the “largest private investment in Pacific Northwest sports and entertainment history.”

“This will start a lot of great careers for construction apprentices,” said Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of MLK Labor. “This is a union arena operated by workers from UNITE HERE 8, Teamsters 117, IATSE 15, LIUNA, IUOE 286, UFCW 21, IBEW 46 and a dozen more.”

Grant congratulated Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of the Seattle/King County Building Trades, for his role in securing a Community Workforce Agreement for the project.

At a press conference at the Seattle Labor Temple to announce the lead contractors, OVG representatives also released a detailed explanation — and the following animation — of how they plan to dig down at Seattle Center and double the size of the current KeyArena. Construction will involve digging an additional 15 feet down to help create a 750,000-square-foot sports and entertainment complex, without removing its iconic roof.


The construction is pending final permitting approval from the City of Seattle. The final environmental review is due in August, with a final Council vote in September. If approved, construction would begin in October. Also in October, an NHL executive committee studying a Seattle expansion request could move to award a team here, with an official NHL vote potentially coming by December. The renovation is scheduled to be complete by October 2020 in time for that year’s NHL season opener.

And the hope is that the venue will also attract the NBA to return to Seattle. The new bowl would allow for 17,300 fans for hockey, and 18,600 for basketball games.

“The brilliance of this building and what they’ve designed is that … if you’re the NBA, and you want to move to Seattle at some point or another in the future, you do not have to spend a billion dollars on a new arena,’’ Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke told The Seattle Times. “You walk into an arena and maximize your revenue streams as if you were moving into your own arena, without spending a billion dollars.’’

Skanska/Hunt have significant history in arena and stadium construction, including MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the recently developed Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

The new building will hold “140 events per year, with a goal of becoming one of the top 10 music venues in the country,” OVG and SHP said in a release.

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