If you look from just the right angle, the preferred design of the proposed new Seattle basketball arena somewhat resembles a ferryboat chugging through the waters next to the potential downtown Seattle arena site.
But without that abstract interpretation, you’re simply left with a large box, flat lid — no, not sponsored by Tupperware — and plenty of covered stairs entering what would become Seattle’s third major sports venue in a four-block radius.
As investor Chris Hansen continues to push his bid to build a $490 million Seattle arena to house NBA and NHL teams — he wants to secure full agreement on the arena before going after acquiring the teams — the next step includes a Dec. 11 Seattle Downtown Design Review Board meeting to get an okay on the design prepared by Kansas City’s 360 Architecture, one of the world’s leaders in arena design.
The Seattle proposal, however, doesn’t show much in the way of leadership from 360 Architecture. Of the three options included in the Design Review proposal, the “preferred option” was the most intriguing and that was primarily only because of the large public entryway complete with covered steps leading into the arena. The preferred design also boasts a glass wall, reminiscent of Seattle’s McCaw Hall performing arts venue, and glass windows around the outside said to allow those inside the venue an opportunity to look out to Seattle’s skyline and neighboring Elliott Bay.
The other two designs in the proposal had as much character as a barge ship next door. One was a nondescript glass-clad oval and the other was a rectangle box with louvered roof pieces. Instead, the preferred option is what I like to call the ferryboat arena.
The “front-porch” arena option will also boast a number of sustainable features, architects claim. Those haven’t been detailed out yet at this point in the process.
As the design of the new arena moves through the city’s process, Hansen has already secured an agreement with Seattle and King County that uses $200 million in public bonds to help him pay for the otherwise privately funded arena. The facility’s revenue will pay back the bonds, under the agreement.
It is also up to Hansen to privately secure teams to play in the new venue and lure spectators up the grand staircase. Hey, at least in the rainy Pacific Northwest they thought to cover those stairs. That’s a nice touch.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter here