Photo: Isa Sorenson/Flickr

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the exterior and iconic roof of KeyArena as a city landmark. Under this designation, any renovation of the venue would have to leave certain elements untouched, reports the Seattle Times.

A $564 million privately funded renovation of KeyArena for NBA and NHL use by The Oak View Group (OVG) is in the works. OVG is in negotiations with the City on a Memorandum of Understanding that is to be presented to city council by September 12th. The designation may help the structure receive federal landmark status, an outcome that could bring OVG $70 million in federal tax credits for the project.

The project is competing with investor Chris Hansen, who has proposed a new arena in SODO. Hansen had a prior MOU with the City calling for use of up to $200 million in public bond funds if he can land an NBA franchise prior to the deal’s December 3rd expiration.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently alluded to an expansion and stated in an interview that Seattle will be on the “short list” of cities considered for a new team. But he gave no timeline indicating when this would occur.

In the meantime, the City is taking steps to preserve the character of KeyArena for future renovations. Built fifty-five years ago by architect Paul Thiry, the KeyArena was a main attraction at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

The venue was later home to the Seattle Supersonics before they were ripped away by Oklahoma. The city landmark designation means that the structure will forever maintain its iconic look.

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