A more than $600 million plan to redevelop KeyArena with the hopes of luring professional hockey and men's basketball to Seattle moved one step closer to reality on Monday, after the Seattle City Council voted 7-1 to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Oak View Group.
Councilmember Mike O'Brien was the lone dissenting vote, while Lorena Gonzalez was not in attendance.
Under the agreement, OVG is responsible for the entirety of project costs, in addition to overruns, along with $40 million in neighborhood transportation improvements over the term of a 39-year lease, as informed by a mobility action plan also paid for by the group.
Construction is expected to begin by the end of next year, with an opening of the renovated venue in October 2020.
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said in a release that the vote brought the city closer to making the arena an, "iconic destination for Seattle and the region."
"This redevelopment unlocks the potential for the best new arena for sports, entertainment, high-tech expos, concerts and more — with partners who have already demonstrated their commitment to partnering with the City for success," she said.
In a separate statement, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said she was, "proud to support a project aligned with the progressive values and shared prosperity for which Seattle is now legendary," as she cast her first vote.
"We are experiencing a unique moment in our City’s history and with it comes an opportunity to preserve one of our cities most iconic public assets for the benefit of the public good," she said. "This project recreates a world-class, multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility (including women’s sports!) which will become a cherished part of Seattle’s legacy.
Monday's vote, while a key milestone in the process, won't be the last one by the council. The MOU provides a framework for a development agreement, lease agreement, and Seattle Center Integration Agreement, all of which still require council approval in the coming months.
This story will be updated.