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Tariffs, Design Changes Bump WA Arena to $700M

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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The developer tasked with renovating Seattle’s historic KeyArena recently cited President Donald J. Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as the cause for the rising price tag of the project, which is now estimated to cost $700 million.

The Project

Developer Oak View Group announced the new price tag along with updated renderings of the design at the end of July, citing—in addition to the tariffs—more amenities that were added to the design in order to make the space ready for both an expected National Hockey League team as well as a possible National Basketball Association team.

Images: Populous

The developer tasked with renovating Seattle’s historic KeyArena recently cited President Donald J. Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as the cause for the rising price tag of the project, which is now estimated to cost $700 million.

In terms of design changes, OVG CEO Tim Leiweke said costs increased because of new plans for permanent locker rooms for both expected teams as well as the region’s WNBA team the Seattle Storm. An additional 50,000 square feet was also 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.

It will grow, however, without touching the roofline.

Since KeyArena 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.

“That building you see today is not the building we designed a year ago,” Leiweke said.

“We wanted the NBA and the NHL to be able to come into this building and do a couple of things ... we wanted capacity that would ultimately make sure we meet standards the NBA and NHL expect us to hit but we wanted amenities that allowed the NHL and NBA to be top third within both of the leagues as to the revenue they could generate to make the building work for both the NHL and NBA.”

In terms of design changes, OVG CEO Tim Leiweke said costs increased because of new plans for permanent locker rooms for both expected teams as well as the region’s WNBA team the Seattle Storm. An additional 50,000 square feet was also added for more storage and premium club space, which will offer views of the Space Needle.

Leiweke spoke with the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast last week, though, saying that the tariffs also played a part in the cost hike.

“We have seen a rapid inflation on those costs,” Leiweke said. “Even when you have manufacturers and suppliers that are within the United States, they know they can charge more now because of the tariffs.”

The privately funded project remains on track to begin this fall, with a two-year timeline aiming to accommodate a still-tentative NHL franchise to begin in the 2020 season.

Oak View 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.

   

Tagged categories: Design; Government; President Trump; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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