NHL practice facility, mall redevelopment both planned in Northgate

SEATTLE - Construction amid the congestion is already the lay of the land in Northgate. With the light rail set to open its Northgate link in 2021, a new neighbor will also open its doors: a new NHL practice facility.

The news is a surprise to many Seattleites.

“Wow, that is awesome,” said Wadod Rahman, hearing about the facility for the first time.

NHL Seattle will house its practice facility at Northgate; three NHL ice rinks with seats for 1,000 people in the main rink and 400 in the other rinks.

The $75 million facility is privately financed. Plans situate the structure on the eastern border of Northgate, facing 5th Avenue Northeast with three rinks.

According to NHL Seattle, it's “a community rink, adjacent to an outdoor park, and the team's primary training rink will have room for 400 spectators each. There will be eight locker rooms, including a state-of-the-art version for the team, plus strength and conditioning areas that will attract and retain top talent. Among the amenities in the public areas will be restaurant, bar and retail space, including ice sports rentals, and a theatre. The 180,000-square-foot facility will be constructed using significant amounts of Pacific Northwest softwood timber products.”

“For me personally it’s going to be the ideal timing. I have a 2-year-old and he is obsessed with hockey. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time at this facility with him whenever that happens,” said Dustin Shatto.

“With the Seahawks practicing in Renton, everyone is going down there and they love it and I think it’s awesome to have an indoor sports arena for people to go to as well, not just be utilized by team but the public around here,” said Angie Klevenberg, who works in the Northgate neighborhood.

The Northgate Mall will also be redeveloped. Simon Property Group, the mall’s owner, unveiled plans last year to scale back retail space and add more office, and hundreds of residential units and hotel rooms.

“It’s kind of a quiet eye sore right now,” said Klevenberg about the mall.

More growth means more people and traffic.

“It’s hard to image how Seattle will endure any more traffic woes, but it’s going to happen,” said Shatto.

The growth of the Northgate area is part of a larger plan to transform it from a car-centric place to a more walkable area with light rail access.

“I think it’ll be easier, quicker, more convenient and I think it’ll bring more action outside of the city a little bit,” said Klevenberg.

The NHL ice center is set to open in 2021. The Northgate mall re-development project does not have a completion date yet.

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