Group wants landmark status for KeyArena

Group wants landmark status for KeyArena

Credit: KING

Group wants landmark status for KeyArena

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 5:55 PM

If the Sonics move back to Seattle, they'll move right into the old KeyArena. Now, Seattle is looking at making the Key an historic landmark.

The building was designed by well-known architect Paul Thiry. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, what was then called the "Coliseum" housed the "World of Tomorrow" exhibit.

Tomorrow has come and the building's future is in question.

"Personally, I think it's a wonderful building. Like the Space Needle, the Science Center, that makes Seattle, Seattle," said Michael Herschensohn, President of the Queen Anne Historical Society.

The Seattle Center is studying several 50-year-old buildings for landmark status, including the Key.

But if it's designated as a landmark, will that keep basketball away?

"Absolutely not," said Karen Gordon, Historic Preservation Manager for Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods. "The whole premise of historic is to use and reuse historic properties."

Because the interior has been altered over the years, for basketball and concerts, historians may focus on the outside. The building has a roof that is thought to be exceptional.

"What really makes it fantastic are the swooping lines of the roof," said Herschensohn.

"Clearly the roof is a defining feature of the building," said Gordon.

Gordon says it is possible that only parts of the Key would be deemed historic.

What happens in two years, when the Sonics move into the new SODO arena?   A landmark designation could protect the Key from demolition.

There are a lot of unknowns.  It could be months before consultants decide whether to nominate the Key.  A final decision would come from the city's Landmarks Board.       
 

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