SBD/September 13, 2012/Facilities

Mariners, Seattle Maritime Businesses Object To Location For Proposed Sodo Arena

The Mariners voiced their opposition to an arena in Seattle's Sodo district
A group of maritime-business leaders and the Mariners yesterday “renewed their objections" to a proposed arena in Seattle's Sodo neighborhood, a day after city leaders "revealed a revised agreement they say addresses those concerns,” according to Lynn Thompson of the SEATTLE TIMES. In a letter to the Seattle City Council, the maritime leaders “object to the ‘irreversible momentum’ for a Sodo location and say the site is clearly preferred by the city, despite assertions that alternative sites will be evaluated in an environmental review.” The letter is signed by Mariners reps. In the letter, the Sodo reps wrote the revised agreement "clearly preselects a location and only pays lip service" to a state environmental review (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/13). In Seattle, Nick Eaton notes the Mariners “want to make sure the City Council is indeed considering alternative locations for a new arena.” As part of an environmental impact statement, the City Council “plans to examine several areas -- including KeyArena at Seattle Center -- for their feasibility as possible alternates to the proposed Sodo site.” Such a study “must be done under the State Environmental Policy Act and could take as long as a year to complete.” It is “still unclear what would happen if the study finds” investor Chris Hansen's Sodo site is "undesirable." Hansen's offer to buy an NBA team and "pay for much of construction is only applicable to the Sodo site” (SEATTLEPI.com, 9/12).

PRESSING FORWARD
: In Virginia, Aaron Applegate cites Virginia Beach city officials  as saying that a deal for a new arena in Seattle “won't affect Virginia Beach's effort to build an arena and attract its own team.” Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said that he “doesn’t think the Seattle deal will interfere with Virginia Beach’s arena aspirations.” Councilmember Glenn Davis said, “What's happening in Seattle is irrelevant to what's happening here." Virginia Beach Economic Development Dir Warren Harris said, “We don't view the city of Seattle's efforts as being in conflict with our discussions with Comcast-Spectacor” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 9/13).
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