SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners' front office came out swinging against the proposed site for a new NBA and NHL arena in SODO Tuesday.
In a letter signed by Mariners Chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln, traffic, scheduling and parking are cited as the major reasons the arena "simply does not work" without hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements.
"We doubt than an arena could succeed financially at this location, given mitigation costs and necessary scheduling limitations. Without highly restrictive scheduling limitations, traffic gridlock would put all of the area's teams at risk," Lincoln writes.
The letter goes on to say that though the Mariners welcome new professional sports teams to Seattle, somewhere other than SODO should be considered.
"Cities and neighborhoods like Bellevue, Renton, Seattle Center, South Lake Union and others should all be given careful consideration as a potential home for the new arena," Lincoln states.
San Francisco businessman Chris Hansen has proposed building a new arena near Occidental Avenue South and Massachusetts Street, contingent on both an NBA and NHL team filling it.
The letter was sent to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle City Council members, King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Council members.
Mayor McGinn's office issued an official statement regarding the Mariners' letter:
“We look forward to working with the Mariners. The transportation issues they raise will be addressed in the environmental review process.
This is a Seattle-specific proposal to locate an arena in Seattle’s stadium district, which was created for stadiums after an extensive process of review. As mayor, I will work to address the Mariner's concerns, as I continue working with King County and Chris Hansen to bring an NBA and NHL team to Seattle.”
Managing Director of the Port of Seattle also expressed concern over the proposed arena location in SODO. A letter addressed to Jan Drago, Chairman of Seattle's Arena Advisory Committee, stated the city should conduct both a traffic analysis and land-use analysis to determine potential impacts.
Seattle sports fans couldn't help but express their opinions on Twitter to KING 5's Chris Daniels this evening. Here are some of their responses:
@ChrisDaniels5 Starting to think that 2 years at the T-Dome to play while the Key is taken down is the way to go. Put it in lower QA.— Tim O'Rourke (@Reybone) April 4, 2012
@ChrisDaniels5 this is more proof that the M's #1 priority is $. I'm a diehard M's fan, but really turned off now.— Mayajw (@Mayajw) April 4, 2012
@chrisdaniels5 I'm really upset. The M's are clearly not interested in what's best for the region that built a baseball stadium for them.— Mack Shultz (@MackShultz) April 4, 2012