BELLEVUE – Bellevue’s Downtown Business Association believes it is time to discuss a potential arena on the Eastside.
“We think it’s good for the region to have more than one option, more than one way to grab that brass ring,” said Leslie Lloyd, president of the association. “Bellevue has always been in the mix.”
Lloyd hosted a breakfast discussion called “The Arena Opportunity” on Tuesday morning. City Manager Steve Sarkozy spoke at the meeting, along with Brian Robinson, founder of Arena Solution, a group of business and civic leaders seeking a new arena for the Puget Sound region.
The meeting was scheduled long before trust fund manager Chris Hansen announced his plan for a Seattle arena. Bellevue civic and business leaders have been quietly pursuing an NHL/NBA arena project for more than a year.
Sources say potential arena investors have kicked the tires on property on Auto Row, near 405, along Bel-Red, and near the old Safeway distribution site on 124th. Chicago minor league hockey owner Don Levin, acknowledged he visited Bellevue last year, and that he’s interested in owning an NHL franchise in Western Washington.
“I believe the region has a number of options, and Bellevue has been really classy about it,” said Robinson. “(Bellevue) would love to be a city to host the NBA. Bellevue has some great options.”
Lloyd acknowledges it is likely early in the game, but believes it is time to hold a public discussion about the prospects. “This is the time to make it a public, or community conversation,” says Lloyd.
Real Estate broker Craig Kinzer and Goldman Sachs Managing Director Tim Romer were also expected to speak. The DBA said the event was sold out.