LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) As costs mount for the refurbishment of Seattle’s KeyArena, there is a new target in the blame game, according to facility project manager Oak View Group: President Donald Trump.
Construction materials like steel, aluminum and rebar for the soon-to-be overhauled KeyArena are climbing because of the so-called “trade war,” OVG chief Tim Leiweke told Bloomberg.
“We have seen a rapid inflation on those costs,” Leiweke said on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast. “Even when you have manufacturers and suppliers that are within the United States, they know they can charge more now because of the tariffs.”
OVG is pursuing the project with private money, so taxpayers won’t be on the hook for increases.
“Money is reasonably cheap still,” Leiweke told Bloomberg. “If you can go out and borrow it at a decent rate, why not challenge yourself and put the burden on things like naming rights, suites, premium seats and sponsorship?”
Trump has imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel from Mexico and Canada, for instance, and that has led to the nation’s largest nail maker, Mid-Continent Nail, laying off 60 workers after sales dropeed 75 percent, according to USA Today. The company said it may see the entire 500-member workforce bet terminated. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson is planning to move its manufacturing out of the U.S. because of the trade war because of new tariffs imposed by the European Union.
Meanwhile, REC Silicon, which supplies silicon materials for solar panels, laid off 100 employees according to Reuters, and a Volvo plant in South Carolina says tariffs could cost the company 4,000 new jobs.
The renovation climbed from $600 million to $700 million, it was announced last month. At the time, Marshall Foster, director of the Seattle Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, told the Seattle Times that the project’s cost grew for various reasons, including changes in the construction market and OVG deciding to adopt a “pricey approach to the work that could minimize impacts to the neighborhood.”
Seattle, meanwhile, is facing soaring costs in living and a homeless crisis while steel workers told the New York Times they support the tariffs. The paper noted that manufacturing is on an upswing, with factories adding 344,000 jobs since the beginning of 2017