Seattle City Council Updated On Arena Plans For Possible NBA Kings Move
The Seattle City Council yesterday received an update “on plans to build a new half-billion-dollar arena in Sodo and to prepare the Sonics’ former home at KeyArena for up to three seasons starting in November,” according to Lynn Thompson of the SEATTLE TIMES. The council also “questioned the timing for its final decision to approve the project, which wouldn’t come until at least November, after the environmental assessment is complete and, potentially, after the Sonics have already begun playing at KeyArena.” In addition, the City Council and the Metropolitan King County Council “have ordered an economic-impact study of the proposed arena and two additional studies that will look at the interplay among industrial uses, sports facilities and transportation in the greater Sodo area.” Some council members “expressed surprise that the city could be on the hook for up to $5 million in consultant and attorney fees for the city’s work to respond to the arena proposal.” Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, whose group is vying to buy the NBA Kings and relocate them to Seattle, has "agreed to repay those costs, but only if the project goes forward at the Sodo site.” Hansen also will “pay all costs for permitting the arena, including the environmental assessments.” Council members Nick Licata and Richard Conlin, who “both voted against the deal to publicly finance the arena, expressed concerns that the city would lose $5 million if it decides the Sodo site has too many negative impacts.” Council members said that they “also wanted to ensure that the current tenants at KeyArena were involved in future scheduling decisions and would not be shut out of their home court" (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/26).
ON THE HOME FRONT: In Sacramento, Lillis, Bizjak & Kasler cited Sacramento city officials yesterday as saying that they “aren't starting from scratch in their quest to develop a financing plan for an arena.” But the officials acknowledged in a staff report to the City Council that last year's plan "and all its detail will likely change in this scenario." The City Council “will be asked tonight to give top city officials the go-ahead to begin formal arena negotiations with a private investment group interested in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento.” The council at the moment “still hasn't officially been briefed on whom the city will be negotiating with.” But it is “widely known” that Mayor Kevin Johnson “has been talking to" Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/26).