It might be too late for Seattle to get in on expansion, but progress is finally being made on getting the arena in place should the city ever make a real push for an NHL club.
Following a three-hour meeting, Seattle’s Downtown Design Review Board unanimously approved the design of the potential Seattle arena, according to KING 5 News’ Chris Daniels. It was the first time in two years that the board had heard the plans for the building from arena investor Chris Hansen.
Hansen has long been pursuing an arena in Seattle with the potential of placing NHL and NBA teams in Washington State and having the design approved is a major step toward making it a reality.
With the arena now having approval from the Downtown board, the next step is to take the design to the Seattle Design Commission. The commission will potentially vote on the arena Thursday, and prior discussions of the arena by the commission seem to favor the proposal moving forward. Daniels reported in August that commission member Martin Regge called the proposal a “win-win” after stating they had reviewed the plans close to a dozen times.
If the commission approves, the vote could then go to Seattle city council, which could potentially be the deciding factor regarding the arena project going forward. According to Daniels, however, council members may hesitate to bring the issue up before the November election. That could put the proposal on hold. However, if they approve, it's likely that the arena will be built.
Regardless of whether the arena proposal is approved by city council, there remains the question of whether Seattle will ever land an NHL team. It appeared to be a near-certainty that Seattle or nearby Tukwila would submit an expansion bid during the NHL’s current expansion process, but the expansion bid deadline came and went without either city participating.
Seattle has been a long-rumored destination for relocation, with some considering the Arizona Coyotes a potential candidate to fill an arena in Washington State were one to be constructed. Even Garry Papers of the Design Review Board quipped he, “couldn't address the status of the Coyotes,” according to Daniels.
Where the process goes from here could open the door for a team in Seattle -- be it the Coyotes or otherwise -- but there are still two more steps to the process before Hansen will have his arena and Seattle can even realistically think about landing a team.