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NHL Seattle training facility at Northgate Mall to break ground in January

NHL Seattle owner Jerry Bruckheimer made a surprise appearance at city council chambers Monday to talk about the team's training facility.

NHL Seattle is targeting January for demolition and construction of a new headquarters and training facility at Northgate Mall. That was the announcement from team leaders during a Seattle City Council briefing on Monday morning.

NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke was flanked by film producer, and lead investor, Jerry Bruckheimer during the short, public presentation at Seattle City Hall.

The group is going through final permitting, and financing for the training facility, which is part of a major overhaul of the mall complex. NHL Seattle believes the project can be completed in roughly 15 months, putting it on target for an April or May 2021 opening.  

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That would line up perfectly with the planned opening of a new light rail station at Northgate, and in time for the expansion team's first training camp.  

The cost will be roughly $80 million. When combined with the Seattle Center Arena project, and purchase of the expansion franchise, the private investment is close to $1.7 billion.

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"It's actually happening, which is exciting for the city and for us, and for all the sports fans," said Bruckheimer after the hearing, noting the Northgate facility "(is) going to be a spectacular addition to the arena, and to get more fans skating. It's a great sport."  

The civic checkup came after Leiweke announced the timeline for arena construction had been extended, and the cost had gone up. He reiterated in front of the council, "Certainly the price tag is more than we thought, but our owners have not cut one corner."

David Abrams, a consultant hired by the city to review the projects and finances, testified that he is comfortable with the ability of the Oak View Group and NHL Seattle to cover the costs.  

Credit: KING 5

The city's budget office also testified to the council that this will likely amend language to the Seattle Storm lease. That's because the Storm will end up playing some of their games in Seattle, while their old home, KeyArena, is a construction site. However, the language, according to budget director Ben Noble, will put more pressure on OVG and NHL Seattle to complete the project on the new timeline and avoid any delays.  

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Noble said OVG and the Storm are also working on a side deal about the 2021 season.

Bruckheimer and Leiweke also said that the New Arena at Seattle Center is being constructed with the NBA in mind.  

"We will get an NBA team here also. And that's an exciting part of the project for all of us, to bring a team back here," Bruckheimer told the council.

He remained coy on other major announcements, like a franchise name, minor league affiliate, or naming general manager for the new NHL team. The latter some thought could be named soon.  

"It's a work in progress, we have time fortunately, so we're going to take our time," Bruckheimer said.