Isn’t It Time to Landmark the Coliseum?

Supporters at the Seattle Center Coliseum
Supporters celebrating a “HeartBomb” at Seattle Center’s Coliseum last Valentine’s Day
(courtesy of the author)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Four years ago Michael Herschensohn was published on Crosscut.com asking the same question I am asking today.

A landmark designation for the Coliseum, or KeyArena as newcomers might call it, is a certainty. But as a relative Seattle newcomer myself, I beg the question, why wasn’t it landmarked before? My guess is the recession, plus a dash of politics, had something to do with it.

Let’s hypothesize for a minute, that the Coliseum is landmarked this year – now what? Seattle Center is motivated to keep the Coliseum as an entertainment venue and ideally attract a professional basketball team and unrealistically attract a professional hockey team. Seattle Center is inclined to keep their revenue stream alive and well for themselves. I understand Seattle Center’s intentions, but I view them as solely self-serving.

Are Seattle Center’s self-serving intentions justified? As a subset of the City of Seattle shouldn’t they do what is best for the city as a whole? For those that are hell-bent on attracting professional sports teams and building an arena, one that is supposedly paid for with private funds, SODO is an obvious option. Although at a recent QAHS board meeting my fellow QAHS board member Leanne Olson also reminded Seattle Center that no action is also an option. Leanne’s “no action is an option” also holds true for the City of Seattle.

Continuing to hypothesize, if an arena is built in SODO, then what should the Coliseum become? Seattle Center has responded by stating that they would investigate other entertainment attractions to stave off loss of revenue.

For a second, I propose we ignore the driver of revenue and ask what does the city need? Does it need more classroom space? Does it need more affordable housing? Does it need temporary housing for the homeless?… Does it need another entertainment venue?

It turns out the greater Seattle community is currently discussing all of these questions, except that last question. Only private investors, who have everything to gain and nothing to lose, are asking for a new arena.

After asking myself these questions, I have come up with a proposal: landmark the Coliseum, consider an arena in SODO if you must, and discuss with the Queen Anne community (not just Uptown) what the future of the Coliseum should be.

 

More Infomation: 3rd Annual HeartBomb–at the Coliseum

Time for the 3rd Annual “HeartBomb”!

Update: 2/16/17

Some photos from our Valentine’s Day “HeartBomb”:

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Key Arena 2008 (from Wikipedia CC License)

THIS POST “BORROWED” FROM HISTORIC SEATTLE…!

Speaking of the cause, it’s time to show your love with our 3rd Annual “HeartBomb!”

Show Your Love “HeartBomb”
1 PM, Tuesday, February 14,2017
KeyArena | Coliseum
BYOV (Bring your own Valentine)
Join us on Valentine’s Day to celebrate a unique, local Modernist masterpiece – KeyArena in the heart of Seattle Center!
Historic Seattle, Queen Anne Historical Society, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Docomomo WEWA, and friends will be showing our love for KeyArena (aka Washington State Coliseum) at 1 pm on Tuesday, February 14. We’ll gather for a group photo at 1:15 pm to show off our homemade valentines to this cool historic building. (The group photo will happen rain or shine!)

HeartBombs are a fun and creative way to bring people together and raise awareness about what’s cherished in a community — a sort of city-wide love letter about places that matter.

Why are we bringing the love?
The City of Seattle issued a Request for Proposals for the rehab and re-use of KeyArena, a world-class sports and entertainment venue. But there’s also a tear-down option. The landmark-eligible historic structure from the Seattle World’s Fair should be preserved. Read Knute Berger’s article for more of the backstory.
 

Participating in a HeartBomb event is one way to advocate for the building’s preservation and potential re-use. As Berger says, “it could be a win for history, sports fans and taxpayers.” Who doesn’t like a win-win?

Here’s how it works
Get creative by crafting your homemade valentine to the building. Add your message about why this place matters.
Bring your heart creation and join others for a group photo at KeyArena declaring your love. We’ll meet on the west side of the arena off 1st Avenue N and Harrison Street near the giant, concrete abutment (or “leg”).
Can’t join us for the group photo? Don’t worry. Take pictures of you and your handmade creation in front of KeyArena, and share them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #heartbombSEA#heartbombKeyArena, and #IHeartSavingPlaces. Feel free to add why you “heart” this place and why others should fall in love with it, too!
Have questions?
Contact Brooke Best, Historic Seattle Preservation Advocacy Coordinator, at

GETTING THERE
KeyArena is located at 305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA 98109, near 1st Avenue N in Queen Anne’s Uptown neighborhood. Here’s a map of Seattle Center showing KeyArena.
For public transportation, go to King County Metro Trip Planner for routes and schedules.