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Preservation Advocates Want Landmark Status For KeyArena

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo

A group of historic preservation advocates in Seattle are giving valentines to KeyArena as the city considers whether to build a new arena. 

The city is seeking proposalsto redevelop the site as a new arena with the potential to host NBA and NHL events. Those proposals could include demolition.

But a 2013 study shows that the current arena meets the criteria for landmark status due to its historical and architectural significance.

Historic Seattle is the organization leading a group of preservation advocates in a "HeartBombing" event at KeyArena Tuesday afternoon, where people will write cards and valentines for the building.

"We're just showing our love and trying to create an awareness about why the building is significant and why it should be rehabbed," said Brook Best, Historic Seattle's preservation advocacy coordinator.

The city is also seeking a landmark nomination for the arena at the same time it's looking for redevelopment proposals. If KeyArena receives a landmark designation, the City Council will ultimately determine what can and cannot be changed.

Best acknowledged that KeyArena may not be the prettiest building in Seattle, but it takes more than looks to make a landmark.

"You can't just look at it from that perspective of 'I like the building' or 'I don't like the building,'" Best said. "That's not how landmarking works."

The City Council will also soon consider a permit request from agroup hoping to builda privately-financed arena in the SODO neighborhood. 

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.