Despite political setbacks, developer Chris Hansen is moving forward on a new Seattle Sonics arena, acquiring two parcels totaling 4.88 acres just south of the proposed NBA facility site.
The cost of the land acquisition: $32 million, or three times the assessed value of the parcels.
The new land isn’t seen as being part of the actual arena site, but rather for an adjoining parking garage. Hansen had an option to buy the properties, but that was due to expire shortly; rather than negotiate an extension, Hansen pulled the trigger on the purchase.
The purchase comes almost five months Seattle City Council narrowly rejected a plan to sell part of a city street to Hansen, effectively killing a proposed new Seattle Sonics arena in the city’s Sodo area.
Or so we all thought, but Hansen is moving forward anyway. He’s spent $97.5 million on 12.26 acres of land for the project, and the planning continues despite the city opposition, no available franchise for a move, and the lack of expansion opportunities from the NBA in the next few years. Hansen is obviously playing a long game here, but the clock is ticking on the project: The City of Seattle and King County have committed $200 million in bonding toward a new arena, with one big condition in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): that Hansen land an NBA team by November 2017. With no obvious teams available for relocation, meeting that deadline may be a stretch.
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