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Seattle Center arena on track for September approval

Arena backers have targeted October to begin KeyArena demolition so the new arena could be open in time for the 2020 season.
A rendering of a proposed redevelopment of KeyArena in Seattle. (Source: Oak View Group)

The new arena at Seattle Center is on track to be finalized by the city in September, in time for the NHL to officially award an expansion franchise to play in it.

That's according to a draft outline to be presented before Seattle City Council on Monday that also provides a few new clues on the future of the surrounding area.

The Council's Select Committee on Civic Arenas will hear the new timeline from Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams and other staff members, as well as plans for the area. Pottery Northwest, which is currently housed in the historic Bressi Garage southwest of KeyArena, will remain on site "with a short closure," according to the draft documents.

The Committee is scheduled to review transportation plans May 10 and a Monorail study July 26. The latter has been called a potential solution to getting people into the heavily congested Lower Queen Anne and South Lake Union areas. Amendments are scheduled to be heard August 10 before a final committee vote on September 14. It would then likely be approved the following Monday, the 17th.

It is expected that the NHL will give a conditional approval to an expansion franchise in June with a final full league approval in September.

The Oak View Group struck a $660 million deal with the Council last December in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding. The MOU requires certain targets to be met before construction can begin. OVG has targeted October to begin demolition so the new arena could be open in time for the 2020 season.

Just this past week, a draft environmental review shows the group wants to build at 750,000 square-foot arena on the current site of KeyArena, more than doubling the current capacity. The Final Environmental Review is now scheduled to be done by August 31.

LISTEN: Cliff Notes version of draft environmental review via The Next Best Podcast

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