The Seattle City Council unanimously approved lease and development agreements that will allow for the demolition of KeyArena and the start of construction on a new facility that could host an NHL expansion team, The Seattle Times reported Monday.
The measure passed 8-0. The 39-year lease includes two possible eight-year extensions, the newspaper said.
The Seattle Arena Co. is expected to spend $700 million on the arena, which will seat between 17,000 and 19,000 people.
December is the earliest the NHL Board of Governors will vote on potential expansion, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said earlier this month.
"We would have the vote in person," Daly said referring to the annual December meeting.
The potential ownership group looking to bring an NHL expansion team to Seattle, led by Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and private equity CEO David Bonderman, is hoping to be ready to begin play in the 2020-21 season as the NHL's 32nd team, but Daly said it's more realistic to target the 2021-22 season. The expansion fee would be $650 million, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to enter the NHL last season.
Following an NHL Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas on June 20, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the process to bring an NHL expansion team to Seattle remained ongoing without any setbacks but with no timetable for it to be completed.
Commissioner Bettman said there was optimism for a team in Seattle to be playing by the 2020-21 NHL season provided the expansion process continued without any issues, but much of that depended on the renovation of KeyArena.
"The timetable on finishing the application and doing what we need to do, we can do that as quickly or as slowly as appropriate," Commissioner Bettman said then. "That's a matter of weeks and months, not years. The bigger issue is going to be their timeline on the building."