Seattle Arena Project Team Announces Mortenson as General Contractor and Rockwell Group as Interior Architect

SOURCE: Oak View Group Seattle

Mortenson to oversee all general contractor and construction efforts at Seattle Center Arena;

OVG-Seattle and Skanska-Hunt come to a mutual agreement to end partnership;

Rockwell Group’s team to design club level and suites

SEATTLE – Dec. 11, 2018 – OVG-Seattle’s arena project team, led by its senior construction executive Ken Johnsen and CAA ICON, today announced Mortenson as its general contractor for the Seattle Center Arena. Skanska-Hunt, the joint venture between Skanska and AECOM Hunt, will step away as contractor. The team also announced world-class architecture firm Rockwell Group has joined the team to design the arena’s suite and club levels. 

“Mortenson’s local Seattle office spent five months leading pre-construction efforts on the arena project and is very familiar with our approach and goals,” said Johnsen. “Skanska-Hunt helped launch us, but I felt this project needed a dedicated single source team and we have mutually agreed upon a change. Mortenson is the nation’s pre-eminent arena builder and they are poised to complete this project in time for the Seattle Storm’s 2021 season. This decision is based on Skanska-Hunt’s construction priorities as well as the busy Seattle construction market.”

Mortenson is one of the top three sports builders of the past ten years, with more than 170 projects throughout the world. With 30 years in the sports industry, the construction company is behind many of the facilities that make up the nation’s sports and entertainment landscape. From Super Bowl-ready NFL stadiums to fan-enhancing renovations, Mortenson has a long history of redefining the ultimate arena experience, which is a priority for OVG-Seattle. Additionally, Mortenson’s Seattle sports arena and construction team were previously involved with the arena’s pre-construction efforts. 

“Our Skanska Hunt joint venture is proud to have provided valuable pre-construction services for the new Seattle Center Arena,” said Kevin McCain, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska’s building operations in Seattle. “Given the market challenges and shift in timing, it did not make sense for our joint venture to move forward to the next phase of the project, so we recently came to a mutually agreed upon decision to end our joint venture’s involvement with the arena project. We are excited about the NHL coming to Seattle and we will provide full support to Oak View Group during this transition.”

“A transition back to Mortenson is the right move for the project at this time. We have great regard for the Skanska-Hunt team and appreciate the significant work already done. They are working in concert with Mortenson to ensure a seamless transition and this project will be indebted to them for their early work and efforts. The current project timeline and approach has not been impacted by this decision,” said Tim Romani, CEO, CAA ICON.

“Mortenson is excited to be transitioned into the contractor role as the builder for the new Seattle Center Arena,” said John Nowoj, Mortenson’s senior vice president. “We’re already deep into the transition process and look forward to assisting Oak View Group with its building of a world-class, landmark venue for our great city. Our company holds core to our mission: a commitment to excellence in economic inclusion and supplier diversity that will ensure we maximize the local impact and value of this tremendous project.”

Rockwell Group to Design Suite and Club Levels

The arena team also announced the addition of Rockwell Group, led by award winning architect David Rockwell. They will work in partnership with Populous, the previously announced Architect of Record and designer of leading sports and entertainment venues, to provide world-class architecture and interior design services, specifically to the arena’s four club areas and suites.

“Rockwell Group is the gold standard for designers. We are thrilled to make them a key part of our design team while they work towards a first-class experience for our guests,” said Johnsen. “Their engagement is a symbol of the high standards we have set to create the world’s next great arena.”

“For anyone as deeply invested in the power and excitement of live events as I am, this is an absolute dream project,” said David Rockwell, founder and president, Rockwell Group. “I am particularly excited to have the opportunity to breathe new life into a historic structure by re-imagining how a grand, multi-purpose venue can be utilized. Seattle is a world class city that deserves a world class arena and we are excited to be working with such great collaborators in Populous.”

Historic Private Investment Fuels Seattle Center Arena Development 

The new Seattle Center Arena is the largest private investment in Pacific Northwest sports and entertainment history. When complete, the arena’s interior will expand to 750,000 square feet and will have a 17,400-person capacity for hockey and a 18,600-person capacity for basketball. When open in 2021, the arena will be home to the WNBA Seattle Storm, Seattle University as well as the 32nd franchise of the National Hockey League. It will host more than 140 events per year, with a goal of becoming one of the top 10 music venues in the country.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 5, 2018 at the west plaza of the arena. Pre-construction and initial construction efforts are ongoing.

The arena is expected to cost between $800 and $850 million and is being paid for by private funding. Other construction partners previously announced include CAA ICON, Populous and local labor partners.

About OVG-Seattle

OVG-Seattle, the local office of Oak View Group, is leading the development of the new Seattle Center Arena and the construction process to transform the space into an ultimate urban arena to host future NHL, NBA, WNBA, music and other entertainment. For additional information, visit

About Mortenson

Mortenson is a U.S.-based, top-20 builder, providing diversified construction services, construction management, design-build, program management, project development, "turn-key" development, energy and engineering services. Mortenson’s portfolio of integrated services ensures that its customers’ investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers.

Founded in 1954, Mortenson has operations across North America with offices in Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Denver, Fargo, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., and in Canada. For additional information, visit

About Rockwell Group

Based in New York with a satellite office in Madrid, Rockwell Group is an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project. Founded by David Rockwell, FAIA, and led by David and partners Shawn Sullivan and Greg Keffer, the 250-person firm merges theater, performance and architecture to create extraordinary experiences and built environments across the globe. Projects include Union Square Cafe (New York); W Hotels (New York, Paris, Madrid, Suzhou, Singapore and Vieques); Nobu restaurants and hotels worldwide; the Hayes Theater restoration (New York); The Shed and 15 Hudson Yards in New York in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro; NeueHouse (New York and Los Angeles); TED Theater (Vancouver); and set designs for Kiss Me KateTootsie, and She Loves Me. Honors and recognition include 2016 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Scenic Design for She Loves Me; the AIANY President’s Award; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award; and the Presidential Design Award. For more information, please visit

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