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August 31, 2015

Sodo arena is up for its 7th design review; ‘living machine' is proposed to treat waste

Images courtesy HOK [enlarge]
The arena at 1700 First Ave. S. could house basketball and hockey teams.

A design review board may finally approve Chris Hansen's $490 million Sodo arena on Tuesday.

This will be the third “recommendation meeting” for the arena and the seventh design review meeting over nearly three years.

The more than 700,000-square-foot arena at 1700 First Ave. S. could house basketball and hockey teams. It last went before a design review board in September 2013, according to city records.

The arena itself would have 102 parking spaces, but parking for approximately 2,500 cars would be provided in off-site lots.

The project team made some small changes since the last meeting almost two years ago. The biggest change is a proposal to treat the arena's waste with a green system called a “living machine.” Documents say the system would reuse water for toilets, landscape irrigation and other uses.

The design review board wanted the project team to emphasize the “turbine” design element on the top of the structure and make some adjustments to a public plaza on the northwest corner of the site. The design packet for Tuesday's meeting has new images showing signage and a media screen on the east side of the plaza for showing events such as away games.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 600 Fifth Ave.

HOK is designing the stadium. Seattle-based SiteWorkshop Landscape Architecture is listed in project documents. HOK, which was founded in St. Louis in 1955, recently bought Kansas City-based 360 Architecture, the firm that was designing the arena for Hansen.

The design calls for a green system to reuse water for toilets and landscape irrigation.

The arena would be financed through private funds and up to $200 million in bonds from the city of Seattle and King County that would be repaid through arena revenues, according to a memorandum of understanding among Hansen, the city and King County approved in 2012.

A final environmental impact statement released in May found no major issues blocking the project. The FEIS was published after nearly two years of work.

But there are obstacles ahead, mainly acquiring a basketball franchise before construction can begin. That is part of the MOU, which runs through late 2017. The NBA has said it does not see expansion in the future.

The NHL is interested in expanding, but no one from Hansen's group, or a competing arena proposal in Tukwila, applied for an expansion franchise by the deadline set by the NHL earlier this summer.

Arena proponents also need to get a street vacation from the city.

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