The Oak View Group has changed its pitch for a KeyArena renovation at Seattle Center.
On Wednesday, it officially offered to build a 400 stall subterranean garage as part of it's $564 million arena renovation, which it is calling the "New Arena at Seattle Center." As part of it's original proposal, filed with the city, it was suggesting an above ground, 850 stall, garage would be built by another public entity.
“In our proposal we provided the garage as an option to the City of Seattle," Lance Lopes of OVG said in a prepared statement. "In our dialogue with the City and the surrounding neighbors - we have listened and learned – it is crucial that we make the NASC part of an open environment for all visitors to the Seattle Center campus. With great partnership and participation from local voices, OVG has decided to remove the above-grade parking structure located to the south of the NASC."
Lopes added, "The cost of the garage is already included in our overall project budget that we proposed to the City and does not adjust the size or scope of the below-grade loading dock and event level storage."
The change of heart comes as Seattle leaders are close to making a final determination on which KeyArena proposal to send to the city council. OVG and AEG have both made bids, although there have been multiple questions about just how much public financing is included. Both AEG and Chris Hansen's SoDo Arena group have accused OVG of hiding public subsidies within their bid.
It's unclear how absorbing the cost of the garage affects to the initial bid. AEG is not offering to build a garage, but is proposing to spend $5 million on traffic mitigation.
OVG's CEO Tim Leiweke didn't directly answer those allegations in a prepared statement, but did say, "Our project is 100 percent privately financed and built with 100% private proceeds. OVG will maintain 100 percent responsibility for capital and commits to a guarantee of rent, and a guarantee of taxes that generate from the new arena. Our chief objective is this: provide the best financial deal for the city and an exemplary public-private partnership. We believe this is best done by creating a no-risk agreement for the City of Seattle."
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has indicated that his office will make a recommendation in early June. It's expected to receive a through review in front of the Council, which is also debating whether to take up Hansen's SoDo street vacation offer.