The arrival of an NHL franchise in Seattle has prompted the rebuild of the Key Arena. Part of Seattle Center, Key Arena is a pyramid structure. It did not have the capacity for supporting an NHL franchise so a major rebuild was undertaken. The roof structure was kept but everything else was rebuilt. They gutted the place and dug down into the ground to effectively double the capacity of the facility.
It opened in mid October. There was a pre-opening event with the Foo Fighter playing but the official opening was a Coldplay concert on the Friday followed by the Seattle Kraken home opener on the Saturday. On the Sunday, they had an open house for people to come and check out the arena. There was no likelihood of me missing something like that. However, the weather was not looking great. They had a market and some bands outside but the rain also decided it wanted to be there. This was not a problem inside the arena but it did make the outside a bit less appealing. Still, it was fun to check out the new event space.
The ice hockey arena was open to view rather than covered up for other events. There were a couple of players working on the ice for a while but it was mostly empty. The Zamboni machines did come out to polish the ice though. There are plenty of interesting food and drink spaces around the venue. Pricing will be what you expect of a sports arena but they did look a lot nicer than you might see at older venues. The structure of the building has been preserved to some extent and you can see interesting shapes in the roof line. Outside it is easier to appreciate the old roof structure. Inside they have all sort of space for lighting and show installations and there is acoustic treatment for the roof to make it work as a concert venue.
It is now renamed the Climate Pledge Arena. The group that is supporting it is significantly backed by Amazon. They have designed the location to make use of renewable resources as much as possible and it is supposed to be incredibly environmentally sound. No doubt that will annoy some people – if you are annoyed by somewhere not polluting somewhere, have a think about your priorities. The venue already provided good income to the city and the new operators have to provide that income to the city whatever they achieve. This is a nice change from the usual approach of cities subsidizing major sports franchises. We shall see how they get on.