Rendering courtesy barrientosRyan LLC: This rendering courtesy of barrientosRyan LLC shows what the outside of the planned Seattle Storm WNBA practice facility could look like upon completion in Interbay. Construction should begin next spring and be complete before the 2024 season begins.
Rendering courtesy barrientosRyan LLC: This rendering courtesy of barrientosRyan LLC shows what the outside of the planned Seattle Storm WNBA practice facility could look like upon completion in Interbay. Construction should begin next spring and be complete before the 2024 season begins.

The Seattle Storm owners are continuing with plans to build a new state-of-the art practice facility for its WNBA championship women’s basketball team despite the property the building is intended for falling on a proposed Sound Transit light rail link route through Interbay.

Storm ownership Force 10 Hoops LLC announced plans for the facility last fall after the city amended zoning rules in industrial areas to allow for some sports facilities. The four-time WNBA champions do not have their own practice facility. Currently, the team practices at Seattle Pacific University and can only use the gymnasium at certain times.

When finished, the approximately 50,000-square-foot parcel at 1616 W. Bertona St., in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood will include two side-by-side basketball courts, the “Storm Team Center” with locker rooms, a lounge and a nutrition center for the players, strength and conditioning training spaces. The facility will include room for diagnostics and physical therapy, as well as the franchise’s business offices.

At a presentation to members of the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce July 12, Lisa Brummel, one of the team’s owners, explained the facility will include state-of-the-art technology, including cameras and shot charts, so the players can work on their craft.

“All the things a professional player would need, we’re going to build those into these courts so that our players will be able to measure pretty much anything they want and need to understand how to make them better,” Brummel said.

When not in use by the Storm players and staff, the facility will be used to host camps and clinics. As well, the parking lot, which will primarily serve players and staff, will also include room for three-on-three basketball.

Construction is expected to begin next March and be finished by April 2024.

“This is just a special space that we’re building for ourselves and the community,” Brummel said.

Brummel and Ginny Gilder, another owner who attended the meeting, stated that despite the possibility Sound Transit could choose to build its light rail through Interbay right over the property on which the practice facility will be located, they are hopeful it won’t come to that.

Gilder said that the City Council intended to include in its comments regarding Sound Transit’s proposed light rail plans through Interbay instructions that the finalized route should not interfere with the Storm’s practice facility.

“We are deep into the permit process,” Gilder said. “Sound Transit is many years behind us. I think what they’re saying now is 2037 to ’39, 15 years after our facility is completed is when they’re talking about completing this. ... So, there will be some adjustment. We’re not exactly sure how they’re going to adjust it in terms of what all their options are, but we are hopeful that the surrounding communities will support the storm and say ‘yes, we want the facility to be accommodated,’ and see the value not just frankly to the local community, but to the city as a whole. Everybody knows this is the only pro women’s sports facility that’s going to be built in the city for quite a while. So I think there’s a lot of impetus to protect this, and yes there’s work that has to be done to resolve the conflict.”

In that session and at a Queen Anne Community Council LURC meeting last week, members said they supported the facility and would continue to advocate for it. Magnolia Chamber members also said they would support putting up flags and banners in the neighborhood proclaiming it Storm country when the facility is built.