Uncertainty surrounds KeyArena contractor

The contractor for the renovation of Seattle’s KeyArena is reportedly at risk of being replaced amid rising costs for the regeneration of the venue, which will host a new NHL ice hockey franchise.

Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony to transform the arena was held after Seattle was officially confirmed as the home of the NHL’s 32nd franchise. Following the announcement, it emerged that the cost of the project could rise to $850m (£677m/€751m) – an increase of $200m on initial projections.

The 17,400-seat facility will become known as the Seattle Center Arena once work is complete and the NHL team is scheduled to begin playing in 2021, a year later than originally planned. WNBA basketball team the Seattle Storm will also play home games at the arena.

Earlier in the year, Skanska-Hunt, a joint venture between Skanska and AECOM Hunt, was selected as the general contractor of the arena. It was selected by Oak View Group Seattle and NHL Seattle, with the joint venture having planned on working alongside developer representative and project manager CAA ICON, architect Populous and Labor Partners.

Despite Seattle having only been awarded an NHL franchise days ago, the Seattle Times newspaper reports that Skanska-Hunt is already at risk of being replaced. The Times said that Oak View Group has “looked into” replacing the joint venture, with an announcement expected in the coming days.

Officials involved in the project have maintained that such a change would not have an impact on the timeframe for the renovation. The Times’ report added that OVG construction executive Ken Johnsen has spoken with Skanska-Hunt to determine whether it can meet a tight construction timeline.

M.A. Mortensen Co., which carried out pre-construction work on the site, would reportedly step in as a replacement.

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.

Image: NHL Seattle