The big news this week in the Seattle sports building world was that Amazon had secured the naming rights to the remodeled venue formerly known as Key Arena, and decided to call the place Climate Pledge Arena. Clunkiness aside, the name attempts to convey that the eventual home to the new NHL Seattle team, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and many other events — planning to open later next summer — intends to have a low carbon footprint, food included.
At least 75 percent of the arena’s food program will be sourced seasonally from local farmers and producers, according to Jason F. McLennan, sustainability expert for NHL Seattle. “We’re still working out all the specifics, but the focus will be on minimizing waste and having health options,” McLennan says, adding that there will be vendors offering organic produce, seafood, and vegetarian fare. He also says there will be no gas stoves in the arena — everything will be cooked via electric or convection appliances, and any viable unused food will be donated to Seattle area food banks.
But it’s still uncertain what specific vendors will be part of the new venue. In February, design renderings showed a few areas inside the arena, including several devoted to food and drink. Specifically, there’s a fancy-looking bistro called the Metropolitan Club, which will be accessible only to those who purchase premium tickets, and a food hall called the Mount Baker Club that promises to be a “pop-up experience.”
Besides the dedication to local sourcing and being environmentally friendly, details on the Climate Pledge Arena food program are still scant. Kara Hurst, head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, says the venue will be looking to develop more community partnerships (although the only food and beverage companies listed as “partners” on the official site so far are Coors Light, Modelo, and Truly Hard Seltzer).
It may be awhile before the picture comes into greater focus. With the entire restaurant and bar scene in Seattle currently upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, the imperative right now for many businesses is just getting through 2020, rather than worrying about being a vendor for a new arena in 2021.