OVG proposal to build new Memorial Stadium


Oak View Group makes bid to develop new Seattle Memorial Stadium Image: Oak View Group

The developers behind Seattle’s 18,300-capacity Climate Pledge Arena – the Oak View Group (OVG) – have made a formal bid to build a new Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington (US).

‘KOMONEWS’ stated that the Oak View Group (OVG) has submitted a proposal to build a new stadium on the site under what it is calling the ‘One Roof Partnership’. The name borrows from the Seattle Kraken’s community foundation and is a reference to the proposed partnership with the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the City of Seattle.

The Seattle Center is an arts, educational, tourism and entertainment center in Seattle, Washington, United States. Spanning an area of 74 acres, it was originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair.

The OVG Oak View Group, LLC is an American Global Advisory, Development and Investment Company for the Sports and Live Entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles (US), it was formed on November 16th, 2015, by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

‘KOMONEWS’ further stated that an early design shows that the OVG is proposing a small stadium that preserves the existing World War II Memorial Wall on the East side of the existing complex.

Noted Tod Leiweke, head honcho of the National Hockey League (NHL) team Seattle Kraken, in advance of his group submitting a formal bid to the City and school district, “It’s been forgotten. In this plan, it will not only not be forgotten, but it will also be honored and featured, as will many other things.”

The 12,000-capacity Memorial Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in Seattle, Washington (US), used mostly for American football, ultimate (a non-contact, self-refereed team sport played with a flying disc Frisbee) and soccer, located in the Northeast corner of the Seattle Center grounds.

The Memorial Stadium opened in 1947 and hosted high school football and soccer before the World’s Fair in 1962. It has hosted multiple civic events, graduation ceremonies and concerts since but has fallen behind on maintenance in recent years. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL’s) Seattle Reign moved to Tacoma, Washington, after complaining about the deterioration of the facility, before moving back to the 68,740-capacity Lumen Field in Seattle.

The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Chief Operations Officer Fred Podesta said last March that the building had reached the end of its useful life, hence the joint request with the City.

The Seattle Public Schools is the largest public school district in the State of Washington. The school district serves almost all of Seattle. Additionally, it includes sections of the Boulevard Park and Tukwila.

An SPS Levy, approved by voters, allocated $66.5 million for the project, with an additional $25 million coming from the City and the State. Private investors, interested in operating the building, were asked to submit bids with a new vision for the building.

Tod Leiweke’s brother, Tim, is the Founder and head honcho of OVG, and has been serving as the local point person on the proposal. Tod did not say how much OVG would contribute if selected as the winning bidder, but added, “I don’t want to get in front of the (selection) committee, but I’m telling you, this will be an expression of our commitment to this community. If it happens, it will be the biggest commitment we’ve made to this community.”

The One Roof Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the Seattle Kraken and the Climate Pledge Arena’s commitment to the community. The roof has long symbolized safety, security and shelter.

The 18,300-capacity Climate Pledge Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is located North of Downtown Seattle in the 74-acre entertainment complex known as the Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, for which it was originally developed.

The One Roof Foundation’s Executive Director Mari Horita has also been intimately involved in the planning of the bid, and noted, “It really represents our organizational commitment to bringing people together under that roof to taking care of each other to helping each other and knowing that we really have to lean into these big issues together. Specifically having alignment with our impact pillar of increasing access to sport and opportunity for youth and in particular, the underrepresented youth.”

The OVG design is similar to another from the Kansas City-based Generator Studios, which is behind the architectural concept for a new soccer-specific stadium in that City and helped plan the Kraken’s Northgate Kraken Community Iceplex and the Major League Soccer (MLS) team Seattle Sounders FC’s new team headquarters and training facility at the Renton Long acres site.

One hundred and thirteen (113) different people or organizations signed up to tour the site during an open house last month, including ASM Global which is a partner of Entertainment and Arena conglomerate AEG.

An ASM Global representative, listed in public documents as a contact, has declined any sort of statement on the company’s interest.

The formal Request for Proposals (RFP) asked for a minimum configuration of at least 8,000 fans, and the ability to house a stage and other staging equipment for the campus. The school district also said the space could likely fit a 20,000-seat project, depending on the design and would be best with a connection to the International Fountain and August Wilson Way on the West side.

A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that solicits a proposal, often made through a bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service, or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals.

Multiple civic leaders have tried for years to broker a solution for the stadium. In 2017, then Mayor of Seattle Tim Burgess signed an agreement to redevelop the stadium. In 2021, then Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a “partnership” to build a new stadium and school on the site as part of a possible land swap involving the Battery Street Tunnel.

Seattle public records indicate the City hired the celebrated design firm Populous back in late 2021 for a ‘Memorial Stadium Concept Study’ of the stadium site and surface parking lot on 5th Avenue. The City also made it clear that they would like the building done in time for the 2026 World Cup in Seattle, and to comply with WIAA standards.

Leiweke said their proposal would meet the criteria, and timeline. The City and the district are expected to select a winner by the week of May 22, and negotiate financing after that.

The SPS and the City of Seattle issued a joint statement about the deadline, which reads in part, “(We) are pleased to have received proposals for replacing the Memorial Stadium with an innovative new, multipurpose sports, educational and entertainment venue to better serve students from all backgrounds and the broader community, and which is better integrated with the Seattle Center campus. The proposals will be evaluated – and partner interviews conducted – as part of a deliberative review process over the coming weeks by a panel of staff and community representatives, with an eye for creative designs which meet the project vision, objectives, program requirements, and shared values as outlined in the RPF. A partner decision – to be announced by the Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and SPS Superintendent Brent Jones – is tentatively planned for late May, with the final agreement pending the Seattle City Council and SPS Board action.”

Los Angeles (US)-based ASM Global is a venue and event management company specializing in managing stadiums, convention centers, theaters, and unique venues.

Los Angeles (US)-based the Anschutz Entertainment Group, also known as AEG Worldwide, is an American global sporting and music entertainment presenter and a subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation. It is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and sports events.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup™, the quadrennial international men’s soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. It will be jointly hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada and will be held from June 11th-July 19th, 2026.

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