With private financing now on the table, developer Chris Hansen is hopeful that his plan for a Seattle arena in Sodo will move forward.
Hansen has been working for years to construct an arena in Sodo, with the intention being to attract a new NBA and/or NHL franchise to Seattle. Last May, the Seattle City Council narrowly rejected a plan for the arena project, which called for a section of South Occidential Avenue to be vacated.
Recently, Hansen confirmed his intention to bring the proposal back on the table, with the biggest change being the commitment of privately funding the project. In an interview with the AP, Hansen expressed hope that the proposal could move forward, and also laid out the potential paths to landing new franchises if the arena is built. More from the AP (via the Seattle Times):
The answer for moving ahead ended up being a privately financed proposal that may ease the concerns of the same city officials.
Hansen said his group, which currently has five public members including Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, will have an equity stake in the arena and a possible NBA franchise.
He also reiterated the group has held discussions with parties interested in bringing the NHL to Seattle, but any group interested in hockey must be willing to pay the cost of the franchise and also have contribute a financial stake in the arena.
“We haven’t attempted to bid on an NHL team. Bidding on an NHL team is their own responsibility,” Hansen said.
Seattle is also undertaking a closer look at the possibility of renovating KeyArena, the former home of the NBA’s Supersonics. The city has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for firms to consider the project, and responses are due by April 12.
As the Seattle Times noted recently, the city could take until late June to evaluate the bids from the RFP, so the process is going to take months to play out.
RELATED STORIES: Chris Hansen Revives Sodo Arena Bid; Prospective Project Firms Tour KeyArena; KeyArena Renovation Talks Continue; RFP Kickstarts KeyArena Renovation Bids; KeyArena RFP to be Issued on Wednesday; Best of 2016: #5, Seattle’s Arena Debate; Tim Leiweke: Seattle Arena Pursuit is Not a Competition; Oak View Group Ups Key Arena Bid; Chris Hansen Outlines Plans for Sodo Arena; Key Arena Renovation Talks Prompt Concerns from Residents; Key Arena, Sodo at Center Debate in Seattle; AEG, Oak View Pursuing Key Arena Renovations: Mayor; Chris Hansen Offers Private Funds for Sodo Arena; Key Arena Could Be Alternative to Sodo; Chris Hansen Purchases Sodo Lot; Despite Setbacks, Hansen Moves Forward on Seattle Sonics Arena; Is NHL Only Path to Seattle NBA Team? It Appears So; Ballmer: Seattle NBA Team Not Likely in Near Future; Is Quebec City Snub Open Invite for New Seattle NHL Team?;Seattle Rejects Street Closure–and New Arena in Process