Alcohol among ideas for financing Husky Staduim renovation

UW: Winning proposal estimated to cost $250 million

August 19, 2010 

SEATTLE - One thing is certain about the Husky Stadium renovation: It won't come cheap.

To help cover the cost, all three proposals for the stadium renovation suggested a wide array of revenue-generating ideas such as selling naming rights to the stadium, and serving beer and wine in the new club seating areas.

The University of Washington picked a development team earlier this month, choosing from proposals by Wright Runstad & Co. of Seattle, AEG Development of Los Angeles and Keating Project Development of Philadelphia.

Wright Runstad’s winning proposal had an estimated cost of $250 million, nearly $30 million less than the next-closest proposal, which was AEG’s at $279 million. Keating’s came in at $400 million.

The team led by AEG counted a total of 37 naming opportunities, including the ticket office, the visitor’s locker room and the docks on Union Bay. In all, the team said, the renovated stadium could bring in as much as $261 million in revenue after 30 years.

UW will need the help. Barring public funding, the university expects to pay for the project on its own, with a combination of bonds and private donations. Financing plans are still being worked out.

UW’s request for proposals had a list of needs for the teams to meet, such as replacing the football field and lowering the seating bowl, renovating or replacing the south upper stands, renovating the concourses and constructing a football operations support building.

Here are a few of the highlights in the proposals from all three teams this week:

WRIGHT RUNSTAD & CO.

All three teams proposed changes to the Montlake Boulevard entrances to Husky Stadium, but Wright Runstad’s was the most sweeping.

The team proposed incorporating the football operations building into the west end of the stadium, turning the west gate into a formal entry flanked by a team store and the lobby of the football operations building. Windows would look into the lobby, which would house a Husky hall of frame.

The stadium’s west end would have a “signature front-door presence,” the proposal said, including a southwest entry plaza to welcome fans exiting the Link light rail station, due to finish in 2016.

The three-story operations building would be built entirely within the footprint of the stadium, with levels for locker rooms and weight training, retail and concessions, and meeting rooms and staff offices.

An upper-floor recruiting area and players lounge would pull out the stops to impress visiting recruits. East- and west-facing terraces would overlook Montlake Boulevard and the football field.

The south stands, built in 1950, would be torn down and rebuilt. The field would be lowered 4 feet and shifted to the north, allowing another eight rows of seating in the lower bowl.

Seating capacity would remain about the same, decreasing from around 72,500 currently to 71,200. About 1,400 ADA-compliant seats would be added.

Seats along the sidelines — that is, outside the end zones — would increase to about 70 percent of the total. Sideline seats are now 68 percent of the total.

One big change would be in the number of premium seats, with the addition of 25 suites, 25 loge boxes and more than 2,500 club seats. Club seats would have backs, arms and cup holders. Their distance from the field would be similar to the club seats at Qwest Field. In all, there would be more than 4,000 premium seats, with the possibility to increase that number if the market demands it.

Parking that’s being displaced by the light rail project would be replaced with a 200-stall garage for premium ticket holders.

The west end of the bowl would have a flatter shape, fitting more compactly into the stadium. The player entrance tunnel would have glass that allows fans to see the players.

Freestanding fixed seating has been proposed for the east side of the stadium, including concessions and restrooms. The north side roof and upper seating would be preserved.

The schedule anticipates a 2011 start, with construction running for 22 months. Work would be completed in time for the fall of 2013 season, particularly if the 2011 Apple Cup is held at Qwest Field rather than Husky Stadium so work could start sooner.

Other Wright Runstad team members are 360 Architecture, Turner Construction Co. and Magnusson Klemencic Associates, the civil and structural engineer.

AEG DEVELOPMENT

AEG offered two plans: “renovate” and “innovate,” focused on revenue-generating options such as new seating and amenities.

The “innovate” plan would replace the south upper stands, concourses, seating deck, elevators and ramps, leaving only the roof and superstructure. Changes include a new club level with views of the field and 24 sideline suites. There would be more rows for club seating under the roof line as well as loge boxes and a 50-yard-line club for the lower bowl.

The total seat count would fall to 68,000.

Another option would include replacement of the north stands, integrating more suites, loge boxes and club seating. West end capacity could expand by 5,000 to 8,000 seats.

In all the scenarios, the proposal would lower the field 6.5 feet, add seating to the Don James Center (a premium area that currently does not have seating), and open the main concourse to views by splitting the lower bowl.

An east stadium addition would offer premium seating and a party deck that could include a beer garden. The area would have seven “kennel” boxes and 30 four-seat loge boxes.

The plan suggests considering selling one-time access to the football field while the players are present or to the post-game press conference. Another option is to arrange post-game visits with the head football coach.

The other team members were Icon Venue Group, Mortenson Construction, Populous and CSL International.

KEATING

Keating was the only team to suggest options like a 200-seat restaurant, hotel and conference center. The team also proposed adding retail pads for businesses to serve both game-day fans and year-round transit passengers.

Other suggestions included new structured parking and a Husky retail store at the stadium’s southwest corner.

The team’s “basic” plan included a new lower bowl, renovation of the south and north stands, and a new field that would be lowered 6.5 feet.

The west end zone would have field suites, and suites would be incorporated into the south stands.

Its more extensive “alternate” plan would replace the south upper stands and concourses, and include more premium seats and amenities.

Keating, like AEG, proposed to build the football operations building at the stadium’s southeast corner.

The Keating team also included Perini Building with Sellen Construction, HKS Sports & Entertainment with SRG Partnership, Shiels Obletz Johnsen, Hill Clark Martin and Peterson, and IMG College.

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