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Interest in new arena simmering in Seattle

Seattle SupersonicsInvestors have approached Seattle officials about a privately financed new arena in the Safeco Field area — an effort that could bring the NBA or NHL to the Emerald City.

There aren’t many details forthcoming about the group, although it apparently includes former Sonics GM Wally Walker, as well as an investor who controls land south of the ballpark, an area largely industrial in nature.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn confirmed the venture to the Seattle Times and issued a statement:

“Our office has had many enthusiastic overtures concerning the return of an NBA franchise to Seattle,” the statement said. “Some of these offers have been serious. Some have not been serious. And the current speculation is over one of these proposals. We are looking at this opportunity, examining its specifics and how it fits our city. At this point, we have not received a concrete offer….”

“When we do reach that point, the City Council will be our first step in moving forward and then there will be an open process to evaluate that offer before we move forward. We would welcome a serious commitment from the NBA to re-establish a franchise with responsible ownership, to our community.”

All of this talk is preliminary in nature. There have been other attempts to bring the NBA back to Seattle following the move of the Seattle Sonics to Oklahoma City; Microsoft president Steve Ballmer was associated with a new-arena attempt in Bellevue, for instance. It’s generally accepted that Key Arena won’t be the long-term home of any professional sports in Seattle: seating is limited for basketball and the most recent renovation eliminated the possibility of the NHL in the facility.


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