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Chris Hansen Revives Sodo Arena Bid

New Seattle Arena

With private funds in hand, developer Chris Hansen has put his Sodo arena proposal back on the table in Seattle. 

Hansen has been leading the case to build an arena in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood to accommodate an NBA and/or NHL franchise. The proposal hit a stumbling block last year, when the Seattle City Council rejected his request vacate South Occidental Avenue to clear the way for arena construction.

The biggest change in Hansen’s plan is that the arena will now be constructed with private funds, which he first announced last fall.  As part of that plan, he is asking that the Seattle City Council reconsider its previous stance on South Occidental Avenue, which Hansen claims will only need to be vacated in the event that the arena attracts a major sports franchise. More from The Seattle Times:

Hansen’s request on Wednesday followed along the same lines: stating that giving his group part of Occidental would not result in a loss of the street unless he first landed NBA or NHL teams.

“There will be no vacation unless and until an NHL or NBA team is acquired and the arena is under construction,” Hansen’s group said in a statement put out on their webpage. “If a team isn’t acquired and the arena project does not get built in this location, the street will not be vacated.’’

Hansen’s spokesperson, Rollin Fatland, confirmed on Wednesday the proposal is for an entirely new consideration and vote and not simply an official review of the 5-4 council decision denying the street last May. That’s an important distinction in timing since it will mean at least a 60-day review process by city agencies before a new vote could even be scheduled.

Perhaps the biggest changes in Seattle’s arena debate since last May is the emergence of a KeyArena renovation as a serious contender. The city has issued the request for proposal (RFP) for firms to present their plans for overhauling the venue, with AEG and the Oak View Group being two of the contenders.

Seattle officials are going to spend months sorting out the details of the plans, especially since mayor Ed Murray has already indicated that it is unlikely that the city will follow with both a renovation to KeyArena and the construction of a brand new venue. That, combined with the review that the city must undertake, means that Hansen is likely going to have to wait to see how these developments play out.

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