SEATTLE - The Seattle Center Arena renovation is being fast-tracked, but neighbors and nearby businesses want to be sure construction impacts don't make the area unlivable.
Once those first shovelfuls of dirt are overturned in Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, what will follow is two years of added noise and extra trucks but fewer streets and parking spaces available.
Business owners, like Jim Marsh at Triumph Bar, said the arena reconstruction could pose problems for people who live and work nearby.
“The first couple of meetings I went to, a lot of those basic issues came up, like ‘Hey where can my guests park? Is all the parking going to disappear and what of the noise,’” Marsh said, referring to some early outreach to the neighborhood by the city and developer.
The reality is surrounding streets will be blocked off to traffic at times with plenty of detours in place. And as the arena gets gutted, trucks will line up to haul debris away. Late-night noise will also increase.
Still, there are other concerns.
“I heard that they are going to be digging beneath the earth, and for me there's already a ton of rats out here anyways," said Scott La Rue, who thinks the vermin fan out into the neighborhood.
Marsh said there's no escaping the inconveniences but a revamped arena hosting professional hockey will have its own rewards.
“My small, little corner here should be safe," Marsh said.
The developer is undertaking a series of measures to minimize construction impacts. A 12-foot high sound wall will go up to cut down on noise issues, and late-night work will involve other noise-reduction measures.
Trucks will haul dirt at night and on weekends to avoid rush-hour. The trucks will also be routed through Seattle Center to steer clear of the neighborhoods.