KeyArena bidder going underground to sweeten deal

SEATTLE — A new development for one of the KeyArena renovation groups could help put it over the top.

Two major players — Seattle Partners and Oak View Group — want to retrofit the Key, and keep sweetening the deal.

Solve the two “p’s” and KeyArena could be yours.

Parking and public financing.

OVG took a big step toward a solution for both by deciding to add 400 spaces of parking underneath KeyArena.

The story was first reported by our news partner at The Seattle Times.

The plan had been to create around 850 spots in a structure similar to the 1st Avenue and Mercer Street garages.

OVG followed the city rules for a Key bid not to use any public money, but wanted to use the Port of Seattle or another agency to help pay for the garage.

The move is a direct counter to their arena opponent, Seattle Partners, which wants to use city bonds to get low interest rates for upwards of half the project.

That isn't changing, so now OVG can say it's fully private and adds parking, both above and below.

"The arena is a part of Lower Queen Anne/Uptown and the design must, holistically, respect the flow and connection between the arena and the neighborhood,” said Tim Leiweke, Founder & CEO of OVG in a statement to Q13 News.

But let's put those 400 spaces into perspective.

The city says the 1st Avenue garage next to the arena has 620 spaces, and the low-rise Mercer garage has a stunning 1,300 spots.

The Uptown Alliance says it likes OVG’s move because the current design would have stuck out and that it would be out of place in Queen Anne.

“Not really what we think provides for a vibrant community,” said Deborah Frausto.

We'll know more of how the mayor's advisory panel feels at the very end of June, with a decision on the winner heading to the City Council in July.