City, Storm finalize KeyArena lease
WNBA team's rent will decrease from $15,000 to $5,000 per game, and Storm will cash in on a percentage of concessions sales.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle City Council voted unanimously on Monday to approve a 10-year KeyArena lease for the Storm. The 7-0 vote was the last step in finalizing an agreement that took about a year to negotiate.
The length of the negotiations was a result of the new ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, wanting to protect both parties. Chairwoman Anne Levinson, one of the four local women who bought the team from Clay Bennett, had previously worked 10 years for the city.
"It's the only way it would have been really successful," said Levinson, who once served as deputy mayor for Norm Rice.
Under the new agreement, the Storm's rent decreased from $15,000 to $5,000 per home game with a minimum of 14 Monday through Thursday dates. The team will receive revenue from concessions (30 percent) inside KeyArena and be paid a minimum of $300,000 annually by Seattle for allowing Seattle Center to sell advertising in and around the building.
In a new twist, the Storm now owns the Team Shop and can lease to a tenant. The team can also sell food on the KeyArena plaza, taking advantage of Seattle's sunny days during the WNBA's summer season.
And if approval is granted to renovate KeyArena — a stipulation required by December to lure another NBA team and receive the final $30 million from former Sonics owner Bennett — the Storm will be reimbursed the difference for playing in another venue. The lease says the city will try to construct around the Storm season, however.
Seattle gains about $850,000 in value, according to Levinson, who noted the Storm didn't request revenue from parking. The other 70 percent of concessions sales goes to the city.
In previous lease agreements, the Sonics received all revenues negotiated in the lease, including 60 percent of concessions.
"It's a very strong lease for the Storm," Levinson said.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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