Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Thursday announced a 10-person Arena Advisory Panel, which includes former SuperSonics head coach Lenny Wilkens, that will provide counsel to the mayor and his staff as they consider proposals to redevelop KeyArena. Panel members were selected based on their expertise in sports, music, transportation, neighborhood interests and design.
“Seattle is in a unique position with multiple interested parties who want to invest in the kind of arena that could attract music, sports, and entertainment to our growing region,” said Murray in a statement. “We are paving the way for the Sonics to come home and to building a world-class entertainment venue in Seattle, and I look forward to working with this panel on the possibility of KeyArena being part of that path.”
“I am honored to have been asked by Mayor Ed Murray to serve as a community leader on his Arena Advisory Panel,” said Wilkens. “I have, and always will be, working to help our great city bring the NBA back to town. I am looking forward to reviewing the RFP proposals while offering advice to the mayor. I have fond memories of playing and coaching basketball in this city, and I hope to see the NBA return sooner than later. While I support all options for bringing basketball back, I will be going into this process with my eyes wide open.”
In addition to Wilkens, the panel includes:
- Jan Levy, Executive Director, Leadership Tomorrow; Chair, Seattle Center Advisory Committee
- Deborah Frausto, Uptown Alliance, a community group of Queen Anne neighborhood residents and businesses
- Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary, King-County Labor Council
- Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants
- Ollie Garrett, president, Tabor 100
- Megan Jasper, EVP, Subpop Records; Seattle Music Commission.
- Todd Humphrey, co-founder and chief commercial officer, League Inc.; former professional hockey player.
- Jill Nishi, director, Office of the President and Chief of Staff, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Rico Quirindongo, architect, DLR Group; One Center City Advisory Group.
“Uptown is growing into an urban, walkable neighborhood,” said Frausto. “People who live here, love that they are within walking distance of so many arts and entertainment options that help define Seattle. I will pay close attention to proposals that demonstrate they understand this vision of our neighborhood while addressing the transportation needs for those who want to enjoy events at KeyArena.”
“KeyArena has a long history hosting concerts. In fact, the first performance at the then-Coliseum was the Beatles,” said Jasper. “I’m looking forward to reviewing proposals to ensure that both music fans and performers will see the arena as a favorite place to attend concerts and to perform. From the sound quality to the load-in and load-out times, to accessibility for all, we have an opportunity to create something truly special in the heart of Seattle that can enhance our music and arts communities.”
The city said it will create a three-pronged approach to evaluating the RFP bid proposals:
Community Advisory Panel: Comprised of 11 community leaders, the panel will review the proposals and analysis provided by the city staff review teams and offer advice and observations to the mayor and his executive review team on strengths and areas of concern for the responses to the RFP.
City Staff Review Teams: Will provide an analysis of the proposals as they relate to the City’s objectives, to be provided to the Community Advisory Panel and the Executive Review Team with their respective reviews.
Executive Review Team: Will evaluate the City Staff Review Team’s recommendations and consider the advice from the Community Advisory Panel before making its recommendation to the mayor. Members are Brian Surratt, director of the Office of Economic Development; Robert Nellams, director of the Seattle Center, and Ben Noble, director of the City of Seattle Budget Office.
In January, the city released an RFP to renovate or rebuild KeyArena. Proposers are required to submit at least one proposal that assumes KeyArena is a landmark because the building is eligible for that status. They also have the option to submit a second proposal that envisions construction of a new arena.
The city’s objectives, previously published, for the redevelopment:
Provide a world-class civic arena to attract and present music, entertainment and sports events, potentially including NBA and NHL events, to Seattle and the region.
Provide for project design and arena operations in a manner that integrates with and enhances connections to Uptown and adjoining neighborhoods and aligns with the Urban Design.
Provide for design, permitting, development, demolition (if applicable), and construction of the arena with minimal city financial participation.
Provide for the continuous, successful, sustainable operation of the arena as a world-class venue with minimal city financial participation.
Provide for mitigation of transportation impacts due to project construction and arena operations.
Provide project construction and arena operations in a manner that is equitable for workers and consistent with the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.
Provide for project design and arena operational integration with Seattle Center, contributing positively to the vibrancy of Seattle Center.
KeyArena hosts more than 100 events each year. If NBA and NHL teams eventually use a proposed arena, it would add approximately 82 additional events at the site.
Proposers will asked to present transportation proposals to help mitigate these additional events. The city is also looking closely at several options.
Proposals are due April 12. Final recommendations will be delivered to the mayor in late June.