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Flying in a New Future

A helicopter operation at Climate Pledge Arena removes the former signage Wednesday, forging the way for a new "crown ID" and new era with Amazon-OVG-NHL Seattle partnership

by Bob Condor / @NHLSeattle_ / NHLSeattle.com

Helicopter removes old arena sign

Old signage removed at Climate Pledge Arena

A helicopter removed the old signage sitting atop of Climate Pledge Arena in preparation for it's new branding

  • 02:15 •

In a signal of big things to come at Climate Pledge Arena, the former brand signage was removed late Wednesday afternoon from its square "nest" atop the landmark roof designed for the 1962 World's Fair. Consider it the symbolic beginning of a new era for the brand-new subterranean arena with a brand-new name being built more than five stories below ground.

"This is the next step forward as we continue to move our project towards completion," said Rosie Selle, vice president of marketing for Climate Pledge Arena. "I know we, along with our partners at Amazon, could not be more excited to make way for our new name, Climate Pledge Arena, to rest at the top of this historic roof. The sign serves as a symbol to our commitment to The Climate Pledge and our goal to inspire global climate action."

The new "crown ID" signage for Climate Pledge Arena will be installed in the coming months. Amazon, NHL Seattle and Oak View Group announced a partnership June 25 to name the building "Climate Pledge Arena" and make it the first net zero-carbon certified arena in the world. Amazon and the Global Optimism organization founded The Climate Pledge in 2019, calling on companies to be net zero-carbon across their businesses by 2040-a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2016 by 195 nations committing to a target carbon-neutral date of 2050. 

The signage removal involves significant heavy lifting and a helicopter. The letters signage weigh 600 to 900 pounds, depending on the grouping of letters ("KEYA" and "RENA") The letters stand roughly five feet tall. The signage key symbols weigh 900 pounds apiece. Each side of the 40-foot high nest frame weighs 900 pounds. 

The signage was dismantled and prepared for removal this week by a crew from local company Tube Art Group, led by Dave Jaque, vice president of outside operation for the firm that also erected the signage as part of the arena's 1995 renovation. Jaque and his crew of Tube Art employees and contracted ironworkers worked across Monday and Tuesday to make the signage quickly removeable but still keeping the letters and keys secured with bolts tightened to the frame. 

A crew of seven manned the final removal of the bolted signs Wednesday during a 5 p.m. hour job completed in less than an hour. The goal is to be fast-think race car pit crew- allowing Doug Uttecht, chief pilot for Northwest Helicopters, to expedient make the pickup or "pick," then carry the signage to a lawn between the fountain and Fisher Pavillion on the Seattle Center campus. "That's why we have many guys up there, everything needs to come off quick," said Jaque.

 "We will do 10 or 11 picks," said Uttecht during a safety meeting before the removal. The final total was 11 pickups or what construction workers call "picks." 

Uttecht's flying skills made any number of local newscasts, plus entertained a ring of masked security personnel keeping the line of the safety zone at Seattle Center. "I went over to talk with some of them [after his flight time] to thank them for their work," said Uttecht. "We want to keep everyone safe. They were excited about the sign [coming down]. They all worked games and events at the arena over the years."

Following its removal, the signage staged on the fountain lawn was forklifted onto trucks headed to a storage yard in Kent. A final destination for the signage letters and keys has yet to be determined. 

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