NBA back in Seattle? Council, investor agree on arena dealBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Tue, Sep 11, 2012 4:00 PM EDT
SEATTLE -- After months of debate within the community, the Seattle City Council has agreed to a tentative deal with investor Chris Hansen on a $490 million state-of-the-art arena that could potentially be home to professional NBA and NHL franchises. The arena would be in the industrial part of South Seattle known as the Sodo district, and Hansen has purchased multiple properties a few blocks south of where the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners stadiums are located. Hansen's proposed project has brought objections from the Mariners, the Port of Seattle and some local activist groups. However, the deal between the city and Hansen addresses the Port's concerns regarding traffic congestion and strengthens the protections for taxpayers in the event of default or bankruptcy by the arena operators, according to The Seattle Times. Hansen has pledged to contribute $290 million in private money to build the new arena. However, he must secure an NBA franchise before the city or county would issue construction bonds. The city would be on the hook for $120 million, which could rise to $145 million in order to finance a transportation fund and improvements to keep the aging KeyArena viable. "We set out to make sure the general fund is protected, freight mobility is helped and that we have help in charting the future of Key. We achieved these goals," Council President Sally Clark said at Tuesday's press conference. The county would contribute $80 million if an NHL team is secured for Seattle, according to the Times. "Your voices were heard and your hearts spoke volumes," Hansen wrote on his website. "I really hope you all just appreciate how much it meant and what a difference each and every one of you made."
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