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AEG withdraws from Seattle Arena renovation scheme

AEG Facilities has withdrawn its $521million plan to renovate Seattle’s KeyArena, blaming the way the city has conducted the bidding process for their decision to exit.

AEG and Hudson Pacific Properties submitted their refurb proposal in April under the banner of Seattle Partners. However, on Sunday they rescinded that bid, leaving Oak View Group as the only bidder, with its $564million plan.

Explaining their decision to drop out of the renovation race, AEG Facilities president Bob Newman and Hudson Pacific chief investment officer, Alex Vouvalides told Seattle’s mayor and city council that, “significant factors through the bidding process have eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project, no matter which group is selected.”

In a letter to the council, made public, Seattle Partners added, “We fear the City is driving toward an unrealistic financing structure, and we believe the City has failed to conduct a sufficiently thorough, objective and transparent process to properly evaluate the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two proposals and, most significantly, to identify the proposal best positioned to deliver a project consistent with the community’s interests.”

Significant factors through the bidding process have eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project.

In response, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said, “There are strengths and weaknesses in each proposal and the City fully expects a robust negotiation upon choosing a preferred alternative, to ensure the final plan meets the needs of the surrounding neighbourhoods, the city, Seattle Center and those who will use the building for years to come.

“It is unfortunate Seattle Partners chose to pull their proposal. As recently as May 19th, Seattle Partners stated in a mass email: ‘We applaud the City for executing a thoughtful public process. Engaging with teams from the City and the public has strengthened our proposal and crystalized our approach.’ We hope to continue our current relationship with AEG and look forward to addressing our path forward on KeyArena, as well as our commitment to engage the community, in the coming days.”

With Oak View’s proposal now seemingly the only option for the arena’s future, its CEO Tim Leiweke commented, “Our project is 100% privately financed and built with 100% private proceeds. With our partners MSG and Live Nation, we have assembled the best team in the sports and entertainment industry. Our chief objective is this: provide the best financial deal for the city, an exemplary public-private partnership, and build Seattle a showcase venue for professional sports, music, and entertainment.”


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