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Chris Hansen Open to Two Arenas in Seattle

Seattle Sonics

Chris Hansen has said he will not try to stop a proposed KeyArena renovation from moving forward, but is open to a two-arena plan in Seattle. 

Hansen has been pitching a brand new arena for the city’s Sodo neighborhood that would be constructed to meet the standards of the NBA and NHL. A previous proposal from Hansen for the same location hit a roadblock in May 2016 when the Seattle City Council voted against a plan to vacate a section of South Occidential Avenue for the arena’s construction, but his more recent plan calls for the arena to be privately financed.

Meanwhile, the Oak View Group is in discussions with Seattle officials on a proposal to renovate KeyArena to the standards of the NBA and NHL. An agreement for KeyArena is not finalized yet, but Hansen said on Tuesday that he will not attempt to block that project if it is approved before his memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Seattle and King County expires on December 3. However, he also made the case for the city agreeing to conditionally sell him a portion of South Occidential Avenue, with his venue at least being used for an NBA franchise. More from The Seattle Times:

Hansen said he wants the city to conditionally agree to sell him part of Occidental Avenue South so he can make his project site “shovel ready” and give him a better chance to attract teams. The group was denied a street-vacation request in a 5-4 city-council vote in May 2016.

“If the city wants to pursue that and build an arena there, that’s OK with us,” Hansen said of the KeyArena renovation proposed by the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group. “It’s their asset. It’s not our place to tell them what to do.

“But we are also trying to build a completely privately financed arena, with our own capital in a place that was zoned for an arena … and I think part of our message that’s getting a little lost is: We don’t understand how this is a negative. Our ask is for a conditional street vacation to build an arena if we get a team. If we have actually got a team, isn’t that what it’s all about? We are not going to build an arena without a team.”

Hansen said his ongoing five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city and King County, which expires Dec. 3, “has effectively expired” and added that his group has “told the city we would not sue” if the OVG proposal is accepted and finalized before that date.

According to The Seattle Times, “the city council is expected to wait until after Dec. 3 before deciding whether to ratify a new MOU between the city and OVG on KeyArena.”

RELATED STORIES: KeyArena MOU Transportation Mitigation Terms Discussed; $600M KeyArena Renovation Plan UnveiledChris Hansen’s Group Unveils Pitch for KeyArenaProgress Continues on Possible KeyArena MOUKeyArena Landmark Status Approved by Seattle Preservation BoardSeattle Hires David Abrams to Review KeyArena PitchLandmark Status Could Spur KeyArena RenovationsOak View Group Selected for Possible KeyArena Project

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