Arena Deal Gets Nod From King County, Seattle City Councils

Oct 15, 2012

The King County Council and Seattle City Council both gave the go-ahead for an agreement to build a new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle. Meantime the Union that represents Longshore workers plans to file a lawsuit to stop it.

The $490 million arena would be built with $200 million in public financing. Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has been instrumental in pushing the Memorandum of Understanding passed by the county and the city.

Under the agreement the public investment would be paid back with rent money and admissions taxes from the arena, and if that money falls short, Hansen would be responsible for making up the rest.

That detail proved critical for some county council members.

Less impressed is the Longshore Union which has vowed to file a lawsuit. The union says building another sports venue in the Sodo area will erode maritime, manufacturing and warehousing businesses.

County Council member Joe McDermott tried to address those concerns before the vote. He says an environmental review will happen and other sites will be considered.

“This is not a final agreement. This is an agreement to a process. I’m very proud of the work that this council has done in seeking to afford this cache, this public value, the possible return of the Supersonics to Seattle.”

The union says the memo is a proposal and should have been subjected to the environmental review process.

David Mann is an attorney representing the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19.

“Are they going to turn around a year from now after they’ve gone through the environmental review process and tell Mr. Hansen no? Of course not. They’ve started the inertia, they shouldn’t be signing onto the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) at this point.”

Hansen wants the stadium built near the Mariners and Seahawks stadiums.

The Seattle City Council approved the deal 7-2. The County Councils vote was unanimous.

Copyright 2012 KUOW

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Seattle SODO arena proposal