SBD/September 14, 2012/Facilities

Seattle City Council Approves Revised Agreement For Hansen's $490M Arena Plan

Hansen, after a full council approval Sept. 24, can begin shopping for an NBA team
A Seattle City Council committee on Thursday "approved a revised agreement to go forward with planning" for hedge fund manager Chris Hansen's proposed $490M basketball and hockey arena in the city's Sodo neighborhood, according to a front-page piece by Lynn Thompson of the SEATTLE TIMES. The measure is "expected to go to the full council for final approval Sept. 24," after which Hansen "can begin shopping for an NBA team." The vote "came over the continued objections of the Port of Seattle and maritime-labor leaders who said the Sodo location and traffic generated by year-round events threatens shipping operations and their jobs" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/14). In Seattle, Nick Eaton wrote the location "continues to be a sticking point." The plan to build a third sports venue in Sodo "has drawn opposition from the Port of Seattle, maritime industry associations, labor unions and the Seattle Mariners." Industry reps "urged city councilmembers to delay their full vote until the public can take an in-depth look at the additional pieces of the financing agreement that could protect port-related jobs and ease Sodo's infamous traffic issues." To "allay some of those concerns" about the proposed arena's potential effects on Seattle's shipping industry, the City Council negotiated into its new memorandum of understanding a $40M fund for "improving transportation infrastructure" near the venues (SEATTLEPI.com, 9/13).

YOU THINK THEY'LL NOTICE? Hansen on Thursday said that the NBA "has been closely watching what's taking place in the Pacific Northwest and a renegotiated memorandum of understanding between Hansen and the city council on the proposed arena goes a long way to easing the league's concerns about Hansen's plan." Hansen: "It means a lot to the NBA. They've been watching very close to what we're doing. I think going in they were very skeptical we would get to this point given our history in Seattle." He said regarding the possibility of an NBA franchise in the city as early as next year, "I think it's conceivable, that would be optimistic and that is not an expectation I would not want to set. I worry that people are expecting us to get this deal done and it be like magic and a team would be here this year. It's like, 'Poof and we've got a deal done and where is our team?' This is a far more difficult process. I think anybody who is intimately familiar with the NBA knows this is a tough next face we have to go through" (AP, 9/13).

THIS BUD'S FOR YOU: In Seattle, Percy Allen reports Hansen on Thursday "hosted a victory party that drew roughly 1,500 to the Pioneer Square restaurant." Hansen said to the crowd, "I probably wouldn't be here today if we weren't as successful as we were in getting all of you guys rallied behind us. So thank you. And that's what this beer is for." Allen notes Hansen "bought the first round of beer -- Redhook or Bud Light" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/14).
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