In a letter today to Seattle Mayor Edward Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, Chris Hansen and his team have proposed an arrangement that would waive all public financing for the construction of a new sports arena in the city’s SoDo neighborhood.
The investment group said in return for approving the vacation of Occidental Street it would cover all of the funding for the arena on its own, as well as contribute the current funding gap to build an overpass over Lander Street. The demand for the overpass has been driven by the city’s freight and industrial-oriented businesses due to raised concerns about increased congestion around the Port of Seattle.
The City will continue to consider all options to build a new state-of-the-art arena that will accomplish that goal and can serve the city for years to come
Hansen and his supporters have been working towards their goal of bringing a NBA team and NHL team to Seattle, an effort that has continued for five years. After the city council voted against the street vacation, the team has continued to move forward by purchasing additional property around the proposed site.
Signed by Hansen, Wally Walker, and Pete and Erik Nordstrom, the letter states, “In the five years since we began working with the city and the county on the arena funding package the economic landscape has changed. The recession is behind us and we are deep into this new economic cycle. Interest rates have declined and the NBA has completed it new national television contract, creating more financial certainty in the industry.”
The letter continued on to say that the team has concluded that a changed economic climate had made it possible for private financing of the arena. For this reason, and to address concerns expressed by city council members, the team said it would consider revising the street vacation petition to eliminate public financing of the arena.
Mayor Murray issued a public response to the letter, saying, “The City will review the letter sent by a group of stakeholders, including Chris Hansen, suggesting a revision to the previous SoDo arena proposal. We share the goal of bringing the NBA and NHL to Seattle. The City will continue to consider all options to build a new state-of-the-art arena that will accomplish that goal and can serve the city for years to come.”