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Preliminaries are Over; Kent to Become Home to Events Center

Rich Woods. rww@realpix.com.

(68.231.50.29) ip68-231-50-29.ph.ph.cox.net

Preliminaries are Over; Kent to Become Home to Events Center
Historic vote to change the face of community

Kent, WA – July 27, 2007 – The Kent City Council capped over a year of work Thursday night as it voted to allow Mayor Suzette Cooke to sign documents that will roll the $78 million Kent Events Center project into its construction phase. Under consideration since February 2006, the 6,025 seat arena will provide an abundance of family-focused opportunities for recreation and enjoyment, as well as a sound economic investment for the City.

“We’re on our way,” said Cooke. “The Events Center will make our city a regional destination. A broad range of activities including concerts, car and boat shows, arena football, home and garden shows and the Seattle Thunderbirds Junior Hockey team will have a home at the Kent Events Center.”

Overcoming dramatically escalating costs for construction materials in the Seattle market, the Events Center will be built without raising local or state taxes. The City was successful in winning approval by the State to create a Public Facilities District (PFD), an independent taxing authority which entitles the PFD to a share of the locally-generated state sales tax revenue at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The city will finance the remaining two-thirds of the project’s cost by issuing bonds, which would be paid back over the next 30 years.
Facility to be Built Green

According to the City’s Economic Development Director, Ben Wolters, the Events Center will be the first of its kind in the entire country to be built to Silver LEED standards.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark of high performance green buildings.

“I’m proud we’re building a facilty rated so highly when it comes to envirornmentally friendly construction and indoor environmental quality,” said Wolters.
Seattle Thunderbirds Agree to 30-Year Lease

The Seattle Thunderbirds have agreed to sign a 30-year lease and will be the anchor tenant for the Events Center. The Western Hockey League helps young people hone their hockey skills while earning a college education and living with local families.

“The expiration of the Seattle Thunderbirds’ lease at Key Arena timed perfectly with our strategic goal to build a regional events facility. Having an anchor tenant paying rent simply makes the Events Center feasible from a financial perspective,” Cooke said.
Changing the Face of Kent

“The Kent Events Center has the potential to transform the community and the region while creating 138 long-term jobs and 564 short-term jobs. Estimates show $1 billion in overall economic activity over the next 30 years,” Cooke said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Scheduled to open during winter 2008, the Events Center will be built at the Commons Playfield site, located at West James Street and Fifth Avenue North, within walking distance to Kent Station, Sound Transit and Kent Commons. Construction will begin next week with a formal groundbreaking event in September.
About the City of Kent

The City of Kent is the fourth largest city in King County with a population of more than 86,000. As a culturally rich destination, Kent’s dynamic quality of life features captivating neighborhoods, award-winning parks, an exceptional school district, nationally accredited police and internationally accredited fire departments. In 2003, Kent achieved the status Sportstown Washington by Sports Illustrated Magazine because of the variety of sporting events and attractions. Kent has experienced impressive economic growth, and is nationally known as a prime location for manufacturing. Learn more at: www.chooseKent.com.
About the Seattle Thunderbirds

The Seattle Thunderbirds’ mission is to uphold the Western Hockey League charge of providing affordable family entertainment in the form of high-caliber, competitive hockey, and to develop players and staff in a positive professional direction. Establishing the Seattle Thunderbirds in this way makes a dynamic contribution to the Greater Seattle community. The Thunderbirds are dedicated to developing the players athletic, educational, and professional talents.



Michelle Witham
Community and Public Affairs Manager
Mayor's Office-City of Kent Kent, Washington
Direct: 253.856.5709
Cell: 253.275.7542
www.choosekent.com

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1 Preliminaries are Over; Kent to Become Home to Events Center Rich Woods (68.231.50.29) ip68-231-50-29.ph.ph.cox.net Sunday, Jul 29, 2007
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