Report: Seattle Partners backs out of KeyArena renovation bidding process


There has been another development in the Seattle arena saga.

The city of Seattle has long since been talked about as a potential destination for an NBA or NHL franchise. There is only one glaring, well-known problem: No sufficient sports arena for such ventures.

In October, Seattle mayor Ed Murray confirmed that the city would request proposals from private companies interested in re-developing KeyArena, which could be one option in solving this dilemma. KeyArena was home to the NBA’s SuperSonics, before they relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, and there had been past reports that a prospective NHL owner was willing to explore KeyArena as a potential option.

On Sunday, reports out of Seattle stated that one of the groups bidding to renovate KeyArena has withdrawn from the process.

From the Seattle Times:

Leaders of the Seattle Partners group said in a statement Sunday that Seattle’s process has “eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project, no matter which group is selected.”

The group said it felt the city had failed to conduct a “sufficiently thorough, objective and transparent process.”

The decision leaves just Oak View Group as the only other bidder for the KeyArena effort.

Another option could be a brand new arena built in downtown Seattle. In October, in one of the many twists to this plot, investor Chris Hansen offered to build a new complex without public financing.

Meanwhile, the Oak View Group is led by CEO Tim Leiweke, former CEO for AEG. Months ago, he spoke highly of the potential for a revamped KeyArena, and what it could mean for the city.

“We believe in the KeyArena location,” Leiweke told the Seattle Times. “We believe that the studies have proven — and we will continue to do additional studies as we go through this process — that there is a chance to renovate and make that arena work for music and sports.”