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Virtual reality offers 360-degree preview into Seattle Kraken's Climate Pledge Arena

A KING 5 exclusive: A virtual reality tour through the future home of the Seattle Kraken, from the ice and the scoreboard to the bar.

SEATTLE — It's enough to prompt a reporter's palms to get sweaty.

With the push of a button, Seattle Kraken Senior Vice President Bill Chapin takes you six stories in the air, straight over the ice.

"How about the rigging grid?" he says with the excitement of a child on Christmas Day. "Whoa!"

And yes, as we "stood" on top of the new arena at Seattle Center, this reporter's palms started to perspire.

It was the first look, in virtual reality, and in living color, at the completed Climate Pledge Arena.

Chapin's tour has been playing out for several weeks, as he has been selling clients on high end suites, and giving them a sneak preview of the finished product.

It starts at center ice, where the NHL's Seattle Kraken are set to drop the puck in 2021.

"Almost 60 feet down, you can see the depth and breadth, but the scale of in the intimacy as well." 

The VR tour, visible through Oculus Quest glasses, allows a look around in 360 degrees.

Push another button, and Chapin can take you to the plush suites, or next to the Kraken bench.  Another push, and you're magically transported to the Space Needle Club, with a view of the city's most recognizable landmark.

The system was coded and developed by Will Adams, who is part of Mortenson Construction's Virtual Insights Department.

He plays conductor as Chapin acts as tour guide, his image and hands visible to lead people around in the virtual world.

"It really lets our customers... and stakeholders experience what we're building firsthand," Adams said. 

Mortenson is the lead contractor on the project, and Adams first built a cruder black and white version for work around the office.

But this full color presentation is not only handy for the engineers, but for Kraken staff as well.

"(They) can get in there and start exploring and think about how they're setting it up for you know, when it's game time," Adams said. "From a logistics standpoint, like how are we going to run these operations?  They have conversations in this environment."

Chapin says it has helped convince certain clients about the size and scope of the project. Climate Pledge Arena will be 800,000 square feet, double the square footage of the KeyArena which sat on the same site.  He says it has also allowed his team to highlight the open feel of the concourses, and clubs, which will allow fans to make a food run and see the action at the same time.

This week is of some significance for the Kraken. Friday marks two years since the NHL awarded the franchise to Seattle, and Saturday marks when ground was broken on the arena in 2018.

That same day, on Saturday morning, the Kraken are set to unleash the "Climate Pledge Arena" signage on the top of the building.

The project is on target to be completed in the real world by the summer of 2021.

"We think its going to be the most beautiful arenas in North America and you can tell that now," Chapin said.

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