With NHL team secured, work to begin on KeyArena overhaul

SEATTLE – Wednesday will mark a large step for the future of Seattle’s NHL team, when the groundbreaking for the renovation of KeyArena will be held.

PHOTOS: What the renovated KeyArena could look like

The $700 million upgrade could not proceed until it was official that Seattle would get an expansion team, and now that the first milestone has happened, the second one will take place with a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon, according to the Oak View Group and NHL Seattle, the forces behind the team and the arena upgrade.

At a South Lake Union watch party for the expansion vote Tuesday, KIRO 7 spoke to members of NHL Seattle about why it took so long to get an NHL team. The answer was simple.

“It’s really the arena. We never had a facility that would be able to entertain the NHL and the requirements that they had. The existing arena is an offset rink — a horseshoe configuration which isn’t good for hockey, so until we had an existing arena for the league they were never going to come,” said NHL Seattle Senior Executive Lance Lopes.

A study predicting traffic impacts for the area around KeyArena said the traffic was likely to be congested with or without the renovation project.

It also predicts crowded transit, more traffic from Mercer Street backed up onto I-5, and more jammed intersections before, and especially after, events.

The Oak View group is in charge of the $700 million renovation, and the new arena will be home to the NHL team, the Seattle Storm, and some hope it can attract the NBA back to Seattle.

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