Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena opens with a benefit concert featuring Foo Fighters on October 19, 2021.

On October 19, 2021, Seattle music fans will get a glimpse of the new Climate Pledge Arena with a benefit concert featuring two closely related groups in Seattle, Foo Fighters and Death Cab for Cutie. The concert is not publicly promoted and invitations are primarily directed to arena partners, entrepreneurs and members of the bands’ fan clubs. Three days later, on October 22, a groundbreaking ceremony will mark the official opening of the arena, followed by an evening concert by the group Coldplay. The 17,400-seat arena, built at a cost of $ 1.2 billion, replaces the old KeyArena, a venue built for the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962, although some architectural elements of the historic arena are retained .

Hit the right note

Although October 22, 2021 has been promoted as the official opening date of the Climate Pledge Arena (CPA), local music fans glimpsed the new 740,000 square foot arena three days earlier when Foo Fighters and Death Cab for Cutie have sold out. concert on October 19. There was no big public announcement. Death Cab for Cutie fans received an email alerting them to the concert, and the online ticketing agency Ticketmaster quietly released details of the concert on the morning of September 30 with tickets on sale that day at noon. . Called “A New Way Home,” the benefit concert helped support the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Real Rent Duwamish and One Roof Foundation.

Both bands have long-standing ties to the Northwest. Foo Fighters, formed in 1994, was founded by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl (b.1969), who spent a few minutes on stage during the CPA concert, remembering the group’s early years. Indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie formed in Bellingham in 1997 and won eight Grammy nominations.

The double billing made a good impression with the fans. While the arena brass technically flaunt Friday’s Coldplay concert as the official opening, as far as Seattle is concerned, last night’s sold-out show was it, as local rock heroes Foo Fighters and Death Cab for Cutie performed the first CPA event… The Climate Pledge Arena did not officially promote the “exclusive” semi-private show… instead offering tickets to “our partners” and those involved in its construction … But band fans could purchase tickets using special access codes “(” Review: Foo Fighters … “).

A few days later, on October 22, an inauguration ceremony took place in the south plaza of the arena. Businessman David Bonderman (b.1942), principal owner of the Seattle Kraken hockey franchise, cut the ribbon, surrounded by executives from Oak View Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate development company and builder of Climate Pledge Arena; Seattle Center; and Amazon, as well as state and city officials. During the ceremony, Governor Jay Inslee (b.1951) praised the arena partners for their use of environmentally friendly building practices and materials. “This commitment to sustainability impacts us now and in the future,” said Inslee, “as the future of commercial construction has a critical role to play in reducing emissions that harm our communities, our climate, our seas, our forests and the Earth itself “(Madison Park Hours).

That night, Grammy-winning British rock band Coldplay – playing the band’s first concert in an arena in nearly five years – entertained a sold-out crowd for 90 minutes. On October 23, the first sporting event in the new arena pitted the Kraken against the Vancouver Canucks. The Kraken lost 4-2. Other opening week events, all held on October 24, included a local food and drink market coordinated by the Seattle Farmers Market Association, a half-day of free concerts by four local bands presented by KEXP and a public open day.

Years in the making

The redevelopment of the old KeyArena began in 2017 when Seattle city officials issued a request for proposals. Built in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, KeyArena has seen its fair share of landmark events over the years, from concerts by The Beatles, Pearl Jam and Elton John to three NBA Finals and the 1990 Goodwill Games. a redesign of the outdated site was needed before Seattle could acquire an NHL or NBA franchise.

Two proposals were received; Oak View Group (OVG) has been selected. One of the requirements of the project was to preserve the elements of the arena’s iconic structure, in particular its characteristic sloping roof designed by Paul A. Thiry (1904-1993). OVG estimated the cost at $ 650 million, coming entirely from private funds, and the inauguration took place on December 5, 2018.

When the state ordered businesses to temporarily close in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Inslee granted an exemption for the construction of an arena “given that the £ 44million roof was supported by a temporary scaffolding system. Thousands of trucks loaded with soil were transported and the old KeyArena was gradually demolished and replaced. OVG ended up spending $ 1.2 billion, almost double its original proposal “(Daniels).

A commitment to zero carbon emissions

In June 2020, Amazon announced that it had secured the naming rights for the arenas, spending around $ 300-400 million on the honor. The name Climate Pledge Arena was chosen to draw attention to Amazon’s climate pledge, which called for companies to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the deadline set by the Paris climate agreement.

Arena builders have implemented a number of innovative technologies and materials to meet this environmental certification. Its “all-electric operations will be powered by 100% renewable electricity – from on-site solar panels and off-site renewables.” The stadium will use collected rainwater stored in the ice system, a concept called “Rain to the Rink” to create the greenest ice in the NHL. The original 44million pound roof from the previous KeyArena was reused in construction – to significantly reduce the building’s built-in carbon. The arena’s food program … will be local and seasonal to support farmers and regional producers; any unused viable food from the events will be donated to local community food programs ”(“ Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena Makes History ”).

There are take-out food stalls, ticketless and cashless technology, and charging stations for electric vehicles. Each year, the arena’s emissions will be counted to see if the environmental objectives have been met.

First opinions

The new arena, a few blocks from Amazon headquarters, has doubled the footprint of the old KeyArena, with much of the additional imagery appearing in the spacious lobbies. Fans seem happy with the new design; Comments from arena fans ranged from more comfortable seats to improved sightlines. In addition to its high-tech and durability features, the arena featured nine public art works installed on-site, and many of the building’s interior design features highlight the best of the Northwest, incorporating such elements as hardwoods, a spectacular wall of ferns, and a model airplane suspended above one of the escalators.


“Climate Pledge Arena Celebrates Grand Opening,” Madison Park Hours, November 8, 2021 (; “Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena Makes History,” press release, About Amazon, October 22, 2021 (; John Niland, “Populous’ Overhauled Climate Pledge Arena officially opens in Seattle,” Architect News, October 26, 2021 (; Chris Daniels, “Everything Was Worth It: Stakeholders Celebrate Opening of Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center,” KING-TV, October 22, 2021 ( / seattle / climate -pledge-arena-opening-day-seattle-center / 281-da063bab-1bad-4e82-b0fc-039bc2928785); Michael Rietmulder, “Foo Fighters, Death Cab Opening Climate Pledge Arena with Seattle Benefit Concert,” Seattle weather, September 30, 2021; Michael Rietmulder, “Review: Foo Fighters, Death Cab Christen Climate Pledge Arena with Unforgettable Style” Same., October 19, 2021; Michael Rietmulder, “Review: Coldplay Spectacular places the Climate Pledge Arena at the center of its universe” Same., October 23, 2021; Geoff Baker, “Analysis: After First Week, Climate Pledge Arena Renovation Receives Kraken Fan Approval” Ibid., October 29, 2021 (; Ken Belson, “An arena where the goal is to emit net zero carbon emissions, even from the fans”, The New York Times, October 29, 2021 (; Kevin Schofield, “Council Considering KeyArena MOU Amendments, on Thursday”, Seattle City Council Insight, November 13, 2017 ( Thursday /); Kurt Schlosser, “Inside Climate Pledge Arena: New Venue is a very Seattle mix of high-tech and luxury experiences,” GeekWire, October 20, 2021 (; Kevin Reichard, “The opening of the Climate Pledge Arena is still scheduled for October 2021”, Arena summary, October 8, 2020 (; Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, “Paul Albert Thiry (1904-1993)” (by Marga Rose Hancock), “Seattle Kraken plays their first home game, a 4-2 loss to Vancouver, October 23, 2021” (by Nick Rousso), http: / / (accessed December 9, 2021).

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