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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slog Poll: "KeyArena Is Essentially Doomed."

Posted by on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 2:56 PM

This afternoon, while proverbially sharing a plate of spaghetti in a bubble bath filled with Tim Burgess, the esteemed Seattle City Council member said this to me:

"KeyArena is essentially doomed."

This is unsurprising news. As everyone knows, the 18-year-old arena will be basically (more) useless once a new, shinier arena is built in Sodo. But as Burgess was explaining, the Sodo deal gives the city two or three years—along with a chunk of change—to study and plan for what the fuck to do with homely, homely KeyArena once the other arena is complete. Like shoot it in the head, raze it to the ground, and then build something else!

"Frankly, Seattle Center is a tremendous asset for our city, a tourist asset," Tim said between Lady and the Tramp style spaghetti kisses. "But the center as a whole is also losing money. What I want to do is step back and assess" what the right replacement for KeyArena would be.

But what?!??? Hopefully with an idea that appeals to locals instead of another tourist trap. "Maybe it'll become a high school," Burgess added.

The city will have years and somewhere between $2.15 and $7.15 million to spend answering that question. You and me, we don't have that kind of time or attention span, do we?

To the Polls!


Comments (47) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Dominic Holden 1
Seattle Commons, Seattle Commons, Seattle Commons!
Posted by Dominic Holden on September 18, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
TVDinner 2
I find it heartening to see that "sex park" is currently winning.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on September 18, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
A bigger Chihuly museum!
Posted by yumyum74 on September 18, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Rotten666 4
All I ask for is one fucking covered playground for kids.
Posted by Rotten666 on September 18, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
It's time to start listening to the polls. The people have spoken! Sex park!
Posted by Spike1382 on September 18, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
seandr 6
We should replace Key Arena with something vague and economically unsustainable that purports to benefit hipsters or the underprivileged.
Posted by seandr on September 18, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Queen of Sleaze 7
Screw the kids... How about a really kickass playground for adults, with the sex park being just one of many badass parts?
Posted by Queen of Sleaze on September 18, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Hello, Roller Derby, the Rat City Rollergirls have drawn very good crowds at the Key, on a par with the Storm, with no sports media coverage. Maybe if the Storm leave, Rat City will have more autonomy to use the arena for more all star bouts and tournaments.
Posted by neo-realist on September 18, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Simone 9
A copy of the Trevi Fountain.
Posted by Simone on September 18, 2012 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Why no option for "sell to the highest bidder and let them build whatever they want"?
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on September 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 11
Don't we have enough sex parks in this city?
Posted by MacCrocodile on September 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 12
Obviously a playground for the overpriveledged children of Billionaires and Millionaires,
paidfor by the working and middle classes.
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Drawing crowds for a small handful of Rat City Rollergirl bouts is one thing, but if you ask those crowds to come out and pay to see them 2-3 times as often, probably for the same price... I don't think you're going to draw the same crowds.

The Key will also likely lose a lot of revenue-generating arena events (like WWE shows, Storm games, Bullshit on Ice type events and major concerts) to the new SODO arena. Even if RCR were to somehow draw well with an expanded schedule there's no way they could offset the existing shortfall AND the further loss of those big events.

The best bet might be to raze it and use the land for something else... maybe even a new, smaller pavilion-type arena that would be a better fit for events (e.g. certain types of concerts) that might not be big enough for the Key but could still draw well and make the Center and LQA business some money.
Posted by Gomez on September 18, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 14
@1 But the Center never gets crowded during: Folk Life, Bite, Bumbershoot .... ! Who needs a larger public venue?

That was the bullshit argument 20 years ago, when we shot down the Seattle Commons at SLU idea. (In retrospect, maybe that plan got vulcanized.) The population hasn't exactly shrunk, nor has the popularity of these large outdoor events. What will be the bullshit argument this time?
Posted by Sir Vic on September 18, 2012 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Fill in the lower bowl. Put in a real loading dock that can handle several trucks. Have an acoustical specialist fix the horrible acoustics. Make it a good concert venue for about 8-10k. Big flat floor for tradeshows. Hmm...sound kinda like the Coliseum!
Posted by Johnston on September 18, 2012 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Wicked Virgin 16
Fun Forest, Mark II
Posted by Wicked Virgin on September 18, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
very bad homo 17
Would it be too strange to actually have concerts and sporting events there?
Posted by very bad homo on September 18, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 18
"homely"? that's not even remotely funny.
Posted by Max Solomon on September 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 19
To me, all that construction and re-doing of Key Arena in the 90s seems like just a few years ago. The area and that block of street were torn up for quite a while while it got its multi-million dollar facelift. I think most people were impressed with the results - at least the Sonics fans I knew were. Some businesses that depended on Key Arena attractions went under during the construction. It'd been a mess, but it had been worth it.

So it seems to me a little strange to now hear about dumpy, old, useless Key Arena. How can a venue go obsolete so quickly?
Posted by Bauhaus I on September 18, 2012 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Mahtli69 20
You know what that area is just screaming for? A mini amusement park, with a carousel, some small roller coasters, maybe some arcade games, and skee ball.
Posted by Mahtli69 on September 18, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 21


The Key Arena is BADASS.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on September 18, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Mike 22
Keep the space vacant. No doubt we'll be building another basketball stadium in 18 years.
Posted by Mike on September 18, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Tim Burgess is an idiot. He wants to spend $5 million (scarce dollars) on a new school to serve kids who live in the downtown area, when there are plenty of under-capacity schools all around downtown that can and do absorb the small school-age population that lives there. Where doesn't he want to spend money on a school downtown to serve the parents of the Amazonians?
Posted by Sterno on September 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM · Report this
Kinison 24
Its not doomed. You have Roller Derby, WNBA and College Basketball being played there. Do you honestly think these sports will be able to up and move to the new arena?

Key Arena didnt kill the Mercer Street Arena, I dont see how the newer SODO one will kill the Key.
Posted by Kinison on September 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Workforce or low income housing.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on September 18, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Joe M 26
Indoor water park. With sex.
Posted by Joe M on September 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 27
@2 - I'm a little disappointed by the small margin by which "Sex Park" is winning.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on September 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this
City could also consider bringing Indoor Lacrosse from Comcast Arena to the Key to make up for the event deficit---The Washington Stealth.
Posted by neo-realist on September 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
MrBaker 29
Pull off half of the roof, gut most of the insides.
With outdoor ice skating in the winter.

Burgess failed to mention why Seattle Center had to borrow $3 million dollars this year, and what the major contributors to the Center losing so much money is: non-profits not paying rent.

I know Richard Conlin detests the for-profit arena, and loves the non-profits that inhabit Seattle Center. The problem is that his pets can't cover their rent.

Key Arena just isn't the problem with Seattle Center, even though key Arena is essentially dead.
Posted by MrBaker on September 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Maker space!

Gotta say...I love Seattle Center. Love love love it! There's always something happening at Seattle Center. And no, I don't think it needs to make money. It's not a business. It's a public space!!! A public space where people can actually talk and stuff (unlike the libraries). We need more of that. More Seattle Center--not less.
Posted by stating the obvious on September 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
rob! 31
If you can pull off some kind of night-vision-goggles/Avatar-VR naked paintball range with lube packets instead of paintballs, I will THROW OFF MY CHAINS AND MOVE TO SEATTLE!!!
Posted by rob! on September 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
orino 32
Uh, KeyArena is NOT 18 years old. It was renovated 18 years ago, but the building has existed since the 1962 World's Fair, which would make it 50 years old. You know, like the Space Needle.

And @24, the Storm, Rat City Rollergirls and whatever else will be outta there as soon as their leases expire. The Storm almost bailed for Comcast Arena in Everett a few years ago, in fact. The Coliseum (KeyBank's naming rights expired in 2010) is considered a poor facility in a worse location by the events industry. Get rid of it.
Posted by orino on September 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
MrBaker 33
The Storm is a net revenue cost on Key Arena's books.
It would save Seattle Center money if the left.
Posted by MrBaker on September 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
First of all, we DO need a downtown high school. See, there used to be one on lower Queen Anne but the district closed it, leased and then sold it for less than it was worth (and the guy at the district who did that still works there).

Guess what? The people of Queen Anne and Magnolia need a high school for their kids. They've gotten pushed around, given a boutique high school (Center School, a nice school but alternative) and have no place in their neighborhood.

This is not a selfish "ask" but one that would help the entire district reshift the high school population.

What is interesting is Burgess saying Seattle Center would be the location when the City wants to buy 3-4 of the district's acres (the school district owns 9 acres of Seattle Center that predate it and includes Memorial Stadium) and swap that for some parking garage on Mercer where the district could build a high school.

This would probably be a great deal but as we can see, our city official are WAYYY too busy thinking about sport stadiums than the students of Seattle public schools.

A great service to BOTH the district and the city would be to revamp Memorial Stadium for more usage, put in a new high school (that would fill up) and start the revitalization of Seattle Center.

But, like I said, our city officials have priorities and we can all clearly see what they are. It's easier to placate some rich guy than actually think about what our most public area should be for all our citizens.
Posted by westello on September 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
California Kid 35
How about move the Burke there? Make it a kickass natural history musume!

Or a mix of expanding the fountain lawn with a really cool playground
Posted by California Kid on September 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 36

I can't say I'm a fan of Key Arena, but how is Comcast Arena any better?
Posted by keshmeshi on September 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 37
@16 ftw.
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Knock it down. Then knock down Mercer Arena too. Then knock down Memorial Stadium. Build a kick ass high school football/track stadium in their place that can also be used for outdoor events (i.e. concerts) and other stuff in the summer.
Posted by Bax on September 18, 2012 at 7:26 PM · Report this
@36 - it's only about 45 years newer than Key Arena.
Posted by Bax on September 18, 2012 at 7:27 PM · Report this
@32, I don't believe Rat City has a lease.

If you get rid of the Key as a facility, will Hansen's arena host Roller Derby, including Tournaments???
Posted by neo-realist on September 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM · Report this
I'm with #15. We need a better concert venue with good acoustics. Larger than the Paramount, way smaller than the Everett Civic Auditorium or Tacoma Dome. Mostly I'd like to see that part of Seattle Center and lower Queen Anne totally revitalized.
Posted by Fire Chief on September 18, 2012 at 8:23 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 42
Tear down the Washington State Colliseum? Somebody better hold my gold, because that is not happening if I have anything to say about it.

Build your silly new arena for your silly new basketball team. Who cares? But the Colliseum is as much of an icon as the Pacific Science Center or the Monorail.

And no - we don't need another public school for Downtown. People who make enough money to live downtown aren't foolish enough to have children - and if they do, they will send them to private school.

No, no, no, no no. Try again.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on September 18, 2012 at 9:07 PM · Report this
@42: Down in Portland, councilman Randy Leonard pissed of preservationists and veterans by calling for the demolition of Memorial Coliseum, which he referred to as an "just an ugly box."
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on September 18, 2012 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Months ago Seattle Opera showed a simulcast of Madama Butterfly -- FREE, and you could buy popcorn and coke -- a great use of Key. Not that it brought any $ in, since it was free. Oh well.
Posted by sarah70 on September 18, 2012 at 10:05 PM · Report this

How do you lose money on something bought and paid for 50 years ago?

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on September 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 46
In addition to the closure of Queen Anne High mentioned @ 34, the city closed Lincoln High in Wallingford, leaving a big doughnut hole in high school coverage. This requires shifting the boundries for other schools to compensate, which leads to some weird maps. The district recently proposed that everyone living north of 80th go to Ingraham, which would have kids living quite close to Ballard High dragging themselves several times farther to school. Currently the line is 85th St, which is still pretty crazy for people living south of Carkeek Park and west of Greenwood.

Why the city doesn't just re-open Lincoln High is what confuses me. The building has housed other schools on a temp basis recently, including Ballard High during it's renovation, so it is usable.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on September 19, 2012 at 6:59 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 47

So? It's hideous. It's concessions are as bad or worse than the Key and the interior, while not as fugly as the Tacoma Dome, still looks dingy and cheap. So, I ask again. How is Comcast Arena better than Key Arena?
Posted by keshmeshi on September 19, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this

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