SEATTLE – Seattle, King County and the man behind a proposed Seattle NBA/NHL arena acknowledged Wednesday they had reached a memorandum of understanding to build the facility. But, there are still many hurdles to clear before any construction can begin, including securing an NBA franchise.
Mayor Mike McGinn, Executive Dow Constantine and San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen acknowledged the MOU, which says construction could begin as soon as Seattle knows it is getting an NBA franchise.
The MOU breakdown calls for Seattle to cover $120 million of the bonds and the county to pick up $80 million if the city can lure both an NBA and NHL team. If only an NBA team comes to Seattle, the county’s portion drops to $5 million. Read the interlocal agreement about the bonds
No NBA or NHL team has committed to playing in Seattle, though both leagues have teams facing ownership and economic challenges in their current home cities.
Hansen's planned arena project still faces many more hurdles. For one, the Seattle Mariners have voiced concerns about the effect of a new arena on traffic in the already congested SODO area, which is home not only to the Mariners' Safeco Field but also to CenturyLink Field, home to the Seahawks and the Sounders.
Labor and business groups involved in operating the Port of Seattle have expressed similar concerns about traffic.
"Nobody has been able to bring to us a city with this combination of major marine cargo activity," says Dave Gering, the Executive Director of the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle. "I think you're not sure you're ready to sign the Memorandum of Understanding unless you understand the ramifications."
More information to come.
Information from KING 5’s Chris Daniels compiled by Travis Pittman.