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$500 Million Self-Funded Arena To Be Built In Seattle's SODO Area

"The project does not rely on new taxes. It would be self-funding," according to King County Executive Dow Constantine

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Thursday that a private investor, Christopher Hansen, has sent a proposal to the City and County to construct a new arena in Seattle’s Stadium District with the ability to host an NBA and NHL team.

As reported by Patch on Monday, Hansen a former Seattle graduate, is behind the funding of an arena that does not rely on new taxes, but would be self-funded according to Executive Constantine.

In Hansen's proposal the $500 million arena would be paid for mostly by private investment which would put it in the top three of NBA arenas to be privately funded. The money also includes city and county financing that would be repaid over the next 30 years through rent on the arena and tax revenue it generates, including property, sales and admissions taxes.

Executive Constantine and Mayor McGinn said that any agreement eventually reached by the City, County and the private investor must adhere to the following principles:

  1. A new arena must be self-funding, and not rely on new taxes;
  2. Existing City and County funds and services would not be adversely impacted;
  3. Private investors would bear risk against revenue shortfalls;
  4. Any project cost overruns will be the responsibility of private investors;
  5. Private funding should be provided for a study of ways that Key Arena can be modified to keep it a financially successful part of Seattle Center.

"When someone comes forward and offers to put up nearly $300 million of private money and bring the NBA back to the city of his birth -- that’s something you have to look at very seriously," said Executive Constantine. "I strongly support returning NBA basketball to King County and, particularly these days, such a proposal would need to be self-funding. On first read, it appears Mr. Hansen's proposal meets that requirement, but we’re asking our review panel to make sure."

Executive Constantine also said "this is not game 7, its the tipoff of the preseason. Its great to have a chance to get back on the court."

If a memorandum of understanding can be reached between Mr. Hansen, the City, and the County, a proposal could be considered by the Seattle City Council and the Metropolitan King County Council respectively this spring.

Statement from Paul G. Allen (Owner of Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers)
It was a sad day when the Sonics left Seattle, a move I opposed. It’s exciting to think about the NBA coming back to Seattle and renewing the rivalry with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, it is too early for me to comment any further without a specific plan or proposal to review.

Statement from Peter McLoughlin (President of Seattle Seahawks, Sounders FC and First and Goal) and Adrian Hanauer (Owners of the Seattle Sounders FC)
We support anything that is good for the Seattle community and downtown development. Both the Seahawks and Sounders believe that the economic and cultural benefits of professional sports are a central and important contributor to any community’s growth.

KING 5 Reporter Chris Daniels who has been following the arena news since last year also reports American Hockey League owner Don Levin of the Chicago Wolves has expressed interest in an NHL franchise for Seattle. Daniels tweeted mid-morning Thursday that Levin just told him "If they get this done, I'm definitely interested in being part of it."

Daniels also tweeted NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, acknowledged via email, that the league closely following announcement.

NBCSports.com confirmed both Levin's and Daly's interest in a story out today. However the story — which Levin declined to identifed names in — states "Levin isn’t the only potential owner in the mix. He said there may be another interested party located in Bellevue, Wash., that may be putting together a competing arena proposal in Seattle, though Levin declined to identify the person (or persons) involved.

According to City of Bellevue officials there have been talks, but nothing concrete.

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