KeyArena MOU approved by Seattle City Council; will NHL announcement soon follow?

The council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the Oak View Group to complete the renovation as early as October 2020. With the deal in place, the NHL is expected to make a franchise announcement regarding Seattle.

In swift, workmanlike fashion, the Seattle City Council on Monday approved a deal for a $600 million renovation of Key­Arena that could soon attract an NHL team and possibly an NBA franchise down the road.

The council voted 7-1 to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group (OVG). They hope to complete the renovation by October 2020, in time to launch an NHL team for the 2020-21 season. OVG co-founder Tim Leiweke was seated in the council chambers with his daughter, company Vice President Francesca Bodie, and his Seattle projects director, Lance Lopes.

They congratulated one another when the vote passed. It was in stark contrast to a prior arena vote in May 2016, in which the council voted 5-4 to reject a plan for a new arena in Sodo pitched by entrepreneur Chris Hansen.

What’s next?

Mayor approval: Mayor Jenny Durkan must sign off on the new arena plan. She said in a statement that she hopes to sign it this week.

EIS: An environmental-impact study of the KeyArena plan is under way, and the city hopes to finish it by late next year so construction can begin.

NHL announcement: The National Hockey League is expected to announce in July whether it will relocate a team or place an expansion team in Seattle.

Project completion: The target date for completion of the renovation is October 2020, in time to launch an NHL team for the 2020-21 season.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan must sign off on the new arena plan.

“We still have work to do,’’ Leiweke said after the vote. “The mayor was elected, and she has the right to ultimately make the final decision. We respect that process, and until she makes that decision we’re not done. And so we’re going to wait on any public comments until we can give the mayor a chance to weigh in on this.”

Durkan is not expected to object. In a statement Monday after the vote, she said, “I look forward to reviewing and signing the MOU later this week.”

Hansen’s group released a statement after the vote saying it still believes its Sodo project is the best shot to bring the NBA back to Seattle. This year he revised his initial proposal, from one seeking up to $200…

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