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'A very ambitious schedule’ - KeyArena renovation plan moving at furious pace

The director of Seattle Center said Tuesday KeyArena construction may be pushed back as the city and the Oak View Group work to bring a hockey team to Seattle. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE – In the latest environmental impact report, the Oak View Group outlined KeyArena construction to begin in October.

But Seattle Center director Robert Nellams told KOMO News on Tuesday that construction could be delayed.

“If they got construction started in November, I’d be very happy, very happy,” said Nellams, who agreed to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s request of postponing his retirement this month to oversee the renovation process.

Nellams said the City is working with the Oak View Group to have hockey at a renovated KeyArena by October 2020.

“The timeline is being driven by trying to make sure the NHL could open here in the fall of 2020. And that’s a very ambitious schedule,” said Nellams.

Nellams said a backlog of necessary approvals could delay the start of construction.

The City’s Department of Construction and Inspections is expected to publish a final Environmental Impact Statement by September. The public can weigh in on the draft EIS until June 7.

Nellams also noted that the City must approve the lease, development, and integration agreements with the Oak View Group before crews can break ground.

The National Hockey League is expected to give conditional approval of an expansion franchise at a June Board of Governors meeting with final league approval in September.

In the draft Environmental Impact Statement, OVG proposes a 18-hour workdays during the two-year construction period.

“There are some of these things that need to happen. It wouldn’t be unheard of if someone had a month’s delay on an arena to start on the road and do all that kind of stuff. Our hope is that that will not be part of this equation,” said Nellams.

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