Contractor signed for ambitious KeyArena project

Skanska-Hunt, a joint venture between Skanska and AECOM Hunt, has been selected as the general contractor for the renovation of Seattle’s KeyArena, which will now cost $700m (£533m/€599m).

Skanska-Hunt was selected by Oak View Group Seattle and NHL Seattle, with construction on the arena expected to start in the autumn.

AECOM said the construction will mark the largest private investment in the history of Pacific Northwest sports and entertainment. Skanska-Hunt will work on the renovation alongside developer representative and project manager CAA ICON, architect Populous and Labor Partners.

OVG has already filed an official application for an expansion franchise in the NHL ice hockey league. KeyArena currently serves as the home of Women’s National Basketball Association team the Seattle Storm. The proposed redevelopment plans include scope to host a men’s NBA team at the facility as well as an NHL franchise, which would potentially debut in the 2020-21 season.

The renovation project had initially been slated to cost $600m but OVG chief executive Tim Leiweke said a number of factors have contributed to the cost increase. “That building you see today is not the building we designed a year ago,” he said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

“We wanted the NBA and the NHL to be able to come into this building and do a couple of things … we wanted capacity that would ultimately make sure we meet standards the NBA and NHL expect us to hit but we wanted amenities that allowed the NHL and NBA to be top third within both of the leagues as to the revenue they could generate to make the building work for both the NHL and NBA.”

Tod Leiweke, president and chief executive of Seattle Hockey Partners, added: “Today’s announcement adding Skanska-Hunt to this world-class project team is just another step in a defining moment for our city as we continue to move toward the resurgence of the Seattle Center.

“Visitors for the sports and entertainment events are going to be treated with a venue that not only honours the history of the arena, but also provides the latest in arena and fan engagement technology. No matter if you’re here to see the Seattle Storm, a hockey game or a concert, the new Seattle Center Arena will deliver amazing fan experiences.”

Construction firm Skanska has helped build venues such as MetLife Stadium, University of Portland Beauchamp Recreation Center and University of Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium. AECOM Hunt has built more than 150 sports facilities, with recent projects including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Philips Arena, Little Caesars Arena and T-Mobile Arena.

“The Skanska-Hunt team is incredibly excited to join the team for this iconic project,” Skanska executive vice-president – general manager, Kevin McCain, said. “We believe that this is more than just a redevelopment of Seattle Center Arena and will become a world-class urban arena that will serve the Seattle area and its diverse communities. We take great pride in the opportunity and look forward to partnering with this team to produce a one of a kind facility for generations to come.”

Tim Smith, senior vice president with AECOM Hunt, added: “Seattle Center Arena is an important landmark and we’re thrilled to partner with Skanska to bring this renowned facility into the twenty-first century. Together, we’ll provide unparalleled sports building expertise, deep local connections, and the latest in construction technology to deliver Oak View Group’s inspiring vision, revitalising the area and creating a premier destination.”

The new arena will feature an interior of up to 750,000 square feet – almost double its current size. The project will also preserve the KeyArena roof, which has historical landmark status and cannot be modified during construction.

Image: AECOM/Populous