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Seattle arena continues to move forward

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- A new stadium in Seattle designed for NBA and NHL teams will continue to move forward after the City Council and Metropolitan King County Council voted to support a Memorandum of Understanding for investor Chris Hanson's proposed $490 million stadium.

The stadium will include $200 million in public funds, and Monday's vote is seen as the next step in the road to building the venue.

The biggest of which is obtaining a current NBA franchise, because the league has no plans to expand.

There is also now a 21-day window for legal challenges, and at least one is expected from the local Longshoreman Union, according to the Seattle Times.

The deal with Hanson was first agreed to with Mayor Mike McGinn in May, and the city council agreed last month to the Memorandum of Understanding after Hanson addressed the Port's concerns regarding traffic congestion and language was included to strengthen protections for taxpayers in the event of default or bankruptcy by the arena operators.

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 after last month's vote.

The county would contribute $80 million if an NHL team is secured for Seattle, according to the Times.

However, the battle with the unions in the "SoDo" district south of downtown Seattle could prove challenging as well.

"We have issues with how these negotiations were conducted, behind closed doors and without stakeholders consulted," Cameron Williams, president of Local 19 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, told The Times.

"We're adamant that a site in Sodo is not feasible," Williams said.
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