Artists anxious for answers in arena redevelopment
As the Seattle City Council prepares to review bids for KeyArena redevelopment, a Lower Queen Anne neighborhood business is worried the changes could force it to close its doors.
Pottery Northwest serves as a hub for the ceramics community. It's located at 226 1st Avenue North, just down the street from KeyArena. It celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Seattle Center in 2016.
James Lobb, executive director of Pottery Northwest, says their longtime location is in KeyArena's redevelopment zone, and it's the reason why artists who use the studio are so anxious.
Jenny Scott has been coming to Pottery Northwest for 11 years.
"I remember hearing some little whispers about it, talking about the fact that we might lose it," Scott said.
"I certainly hope the development doesn't include this place," Kelly Pensell, who started taking ceramics classes six months ago, said. "It would be a shame to lose such a nice studio space. It is important to so many people."
Lobb remembers when the request for proposals first started, and now two bids to renovate KeyArena have been submitted.
More than $1 billion in combined investments have been proposed by developers competing to transform KeyArena into a world-class entertainment facility, according to Joe Mirabella with the city's Office of Economic Development.
"Best case scenario, we get to stay here and we don't get touched at all," Lobb said. "I'd love to see that, but I don't want to be naïve. I've heard that this perhaps would be a new building that would accommodate office buildings for the basketball teams and maybe some residences. Hopefully, in an ideal situation, we could be incorporated into that new building."
"My wish is we get to stay here," said Scott.
At Pottery Northwest, they will be paying close attention to city hall. The Seattle City Council is expected to start reviewing the bids on Monday.