Photo: Isa Sorenson/Flickr
Seattle Partners, a group that combined arena magnate AEG and Hudson Pacific Properties, recently announced it is pulling out of the process after submitting plans in April for a proposed $521 million renovation of KeyArena.
In a letter to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle Partners put forth their reasoning for dropping their bid.
“We remain firm in the belief that our proposal best serves the people of Seattle, but, unfortunately, significant factors through the bidding process have eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project, no matter which group is selected. We fear the City is driving toward an unrealistic financing structure, and we believe the City has failed to conduct a sufficiently thorough, objective and transparent process to properly evaluate the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two proposals and, most significantly, to identify the proposal best positioned to deliver a project consistent with the community’s interests,” the letter reads.
The Mayor’s office responded with a statement, reaffirming the city’s relationship with AEG while also calling the group’s decision into question.
“…It is unfortunate Seattle Partners chose to pull their proposal. As recently as May 19th, Seattle Partners stated in a mass email: ‘We applaud the City for executing a thoughtful public process. Engaging with teams from the City and the public has strengthened our proposal and crystallized our approach.’ We hope to continue our current relationship with AEG and look forward to addressing our path forward on KeyArena, as well as our commitment to engage the community, in the coming days,” reads the statement.
The other group to submit a $564 million dollar proposal was Oak View Group who has “appeared to be the favorite in the process,” according to The Associated Press. Seattle Partners also cited concerns about Oak View Group’s plan in their letter.
“Despite the lack of transparency, we are generally familiar with Oak View Group’s proposal, including changes to it that have been conveyed via media accounts and otherwise. Based on our experience, we have strong reservations about whether that proposal can be successfully achieved consistent with the City’s best interests. If the City elects to proceed with that remaining proposal, to protect the public interests of Seattle, it is imperative that you closely and diligently monitor the process to ensure that Oak View Group is held accountable for all elements of what it has very publicly promised to the citizens of Seattle,” the letter reads.
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke responded in a statement affirming their proposal is 100 percent privately financed, reports the Associated Press.
“Our project is 100 percent privately financed and built with 100 percent private proceeds,” Leiweke said. “With our partners MSG and Live Nation, we have assembled the best team in the sports and entertainment industry. Our chief objective is this: Provide the best financial deal for the city, an exemplary public-private partnership, and build Seattle a showcase venue for professional sports, music, and entertainment.”
Chris Hansen’s SODO arena proposal is also still on the table. A decision is expected from the city later this month.