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Seattle arena on track for summer 2021 opening

The new NHL arena in Seattle is on course to open in the summer of 2021 as construction work continues on the site of the former KeyArena facility.

The construction project is being led by Oak View Group and officials said yesterday (Monday) that the entire bowl of the former arena has now been demolished. The existing roof will remain in place while construction work is done underneath.

The grandstands of the previous arena have been removed, while the windows have also been removed to provide the public with a clear view through the structure. A giant beam has been placed in the centre of the floor to provide support for the roof while work is carried out on the ground.

Seventy columns have been added around the building to support the 22,000-ton roof, with the old columns currently suspended in the air by temporary columns. The old columns will remain propped up until crews start building back up next year.

The roof of the existing KeyArena has been designated as a historic landmark, having been a part of the Seattle skyline since the facility opened in 1962. Given its status, it was decided that the roof would remain in place during the revamp.

Construction executive Ken Johnsen said: “This is a brand-new arena being built. The old arena is gone. There’s really nothing left except for that roof. We’re holding up that roof temporarily and we’re digging down so we can build a brand-new arena that’s the best in the country.”

He added: “We’ve got 120 people working on site right now, and it will probably peak over 1,000 in a little over a year. We’ll start hauling those mounds at the side by the end of the month, all the dirt excavated by end of year.”

NHL Seattle is due to begin playing in 2021. The arena broke ground on December 5 last year and is expected to cost around $930m (£749m/€844m).

NHL Seattle named Symetra Life Insurance Company as its first founding partner and sponsor of the new arena in June. The Symetra brand will benefit from prominent brand exposure throughout the arena and will take on title sponsorship rights to one of the premium clubs inside the facility.

As well as hosting a new NHL team, the arena will serve as the home of the Seattle Storm WNBA basketball franchise. Johnsen said an exact opening date for the arena will be set next spring.

Image: NHL