A few months shy of 25 years after the Seattle Center Coliseum emerged from a renovation with a new name, a major remnant from that new name — KeyArena — came down Wednesday.
Via helicopter, workers removed the red sign in 10 pieces from atop the Uptown arena that’s undergoing a $930 million renovation, making room for the building’s new name, Climate Pledge Arena, after Amazon purchased the naming rights in late June. The new sign is expected to be installed sometime in the next few months, and the renovated arena is on track to open by late summer 2021.
As the name suggests, Climate Pledge Arena, home to Seattle’s incoming NHL franchise and the WNBA’s Storm, will put sustainability at the forefront. The goals: be 100% powered by renewable electricity and aim to achieve a zero-carbon footprint, produce zero waste, source food locally and, by 2024, eliminate all single-use plastics.
“We were talking about Amazon and talked about community,” NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke told The Seattle Times on June 25. “And they came back and said, ‘Look, the No. 1 community cause for us and what we believe in most is climate and Jeff’s commitment to the Climate Pledge.’ And we came away inspired.”
The transformation from the Coliseum to KeyArena is not the first renovation the building has seen.
Built in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, Century 21 officials broke ground May 12, 1960, on what was then called the Washington State Pavilion.
After the fair, Seattle renovated the arena and it was renamed the Seattle Center Coliseum. Renovations were made so the venue could host events, concerts and sports. The initial renovation made the Coliseum able to easily convert from an ice arena to a basketball court.
By June 1994, renovation work started on the Coliseum after the Sonics signed a 15-year lease in exchange for the city of Seattle issuing 20-year bonds to pay for the $100 million, 16-month renovation.
The building reopened as KeyArena on Oct. 26, 1995, with a concert featuring tenor Jose Carreras and the Seattle Symphony, with an audience of 14,000.
On June 1, 2000, the Storm played its first home game at KeyArena.
The Sonics played their last game in front of a Seattle crowd on April 13, 2008, after the team was sold to a group of Oklahoma City businessmen.
In 2017, the city of Seattle requested new proposals for the redevelopment of KeyArena. Demolition of the current interior would begin once Seattle was awarded a hockey team by the NHL Board of Governors.
On Dec. 4, 2018, the NHL awarded Seattle the league’s 32nd franchise. A day later, NHL Seattle held a groundbreaking ceremony at the KeyArena site.