Chris Hansen Would Not Try To Block Oak View Group's KeyArena Plan If Approved
Entrepreneur Chris Hansen, who is leading a bid for a new arena in Seattle's Sodo District, said that he "would not try to block" Oak View Group's $600M plan to renovate KeyArena "if it is approved," according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. But Hansen also said that he is "open to a two-arena solution for the city and will keep pushing his Sodo plan for at least an NBA franchise." Hansen "wants the city to conditionally agree to sell him part of Occidental Avenue South so he can make his project site 'shovel ready' and give him a better chance to attract teams." Hansen said of OVG's proposal, "If the city wants to pursue that and build an arena there, that’s OK with us." Hansen's five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the city formally expires Dec. 3, but he said it "has effectively expired." Hansen added that his "group has 'told the city we would not sue' if the OVG proposal is accepted and finalized before that date." Hansen has "changed his initial proposal for Sodo" to be 100% "privately funded on construction," and he recently proposed a $100M renovation of KeyArena into a "downsized" music venue. Hansen said that his "new offers effectively supersede his current MOU." However, Baker reports an email between city officials states that Hansen's Sodo proposal is still "five to six months from being ready to show" the city council. His group "already has invested upward" of $130M at the Sodo site and "hinted they’d likely use collateral to finance the rest of the venue." Hansen said that he has had "conversations with potential NHL owners, but nothing came to fruition." He acknowledged that he is "more passionate about the NBA than hockey," but he "remains open to doing a deal with any prospective NHL owner or team" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/11).
KEEPING AN OPEN MIND: In Seattle, Matt Calkins writes under the header, "Chris Hansen’s Sodo Arena Group Deserves One Last Listen." Hansen has "remained a paragon of persistence." But the "first question that comes to mind is whether having two arenas in this city is economically viable." Calkins: "Would the concept work in Seattle? We don’t know for sure. But there is a precedent for it, and it’s probably worth looking into." Civic pride is "immeasurable," and the Sonics "would provide that." It is also "possible that a prospective NBA ownership group would scoff at the idea of having to share an arena with the NHL and LiveNation." OVG "might very well get the Sonics, but having a backup plan with Hansen’s group seems more prudent than risky" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/11).