New KeyArena developers: 'We're going to bring you teams'
It's the beginning of the end for Key Arena as we know it.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday the city is accepting a bid from Oak View Group to renovate the facility. Flanked by high-status members of the music, film and sports industries, Murray signed a contract with the OVG for them to renovate the arena.
The group was long rumored to be Murray's choice between two bids for the renovation. The other was by Seattle Partners, who withdrew from the bidding process on Sunday, saying the city failed to conduct a sufficiently thorough process.
Murray said he picked OVG's bid over others because it won't require public bond money.
Murray: "They are going to build an entirely new arena under the iconic roof. And the overall structure of this new arena is the most flexible design for future modification as times change."
Murray said he believes OVG's $564 million proposal could bring the NBA back to Seattle.
OVG has friends in high places who want to see a new sports team in Seattle, including Hollywood producer and pro hockey fan Jerry Bruckheimer, Boston Celtics minority owner David Bonderman, and Live Nation.
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke says they won't just design an arena, but will also be at the table for a possible NHL and NBA team.
Leiweke: "We made a commitment from day one that we were going to bring you teams, and we are going to go do that."
Leiweke said his group will not ask for public bond money, but there could be some request for city financing. He said he wants it to be a top national venue.
Leiweke: "We are going to be world class on concerts, we will be one of the top stops for live entertainment in the world. But we are going to get a team, maybe two, and we are hosts to the [Seattle] Storm. So this is a venue that will host both sports and music and do it quite well."
The document signed Wednesday by Murray commits the city to negotiating with OVG on a final arena plan. The Seattle City Council will need to approve it, and Murray said he hopes that will happen by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the city's agreement for a Sodo arena with investor Chris Hansen is on the table until December. Leiweke has publicly asked Hansen to join Oak View Group in their quest to bring an NBA team to Seattle.
Hansen has not responded to a request for comment.