Chris Hansen Rumors
An investment group that wants to build a sports arena for professional basketball and possibly hockey has offered to also rebuild KeyArena, the former home of Seattle’s departed NBA franchise. The move Thursday by the group led by investor Chris Hansen is the latest in the long-running debate over building a new arena. Hansen wants to privately build a facility in an area that’s home to venues for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners.
More than five years into efforts to get a new arena built in Seattle, Chris Hansen remains confident that his goal of being the facilitator for getting the NBA and NHL to Seattle will ultimately be realized. Even if that means dipping even deeper into his pocket to offer up a privately financed facility. “We view that as a civic obligation to protect that and ensure that we do our part in bringing a team back,” Hansen said. “It was with that mindset, we’re not a for-profit enterprise that is attempting to generate a certain level of return on capital as we look at this project to justify it. We’re like, ‘What can we do just to make this work for the city and hopefully if we do that part, in the really long term it will work out for us.’ ”
Investor Chris Hansen stressed patience and optimism Thursday in his ongoing effort to build an arena to house a possible NBA or NHL franchise in Seattle’s stadium district. Hansen’s interview with The Associated Press represented his first public comments in nearly two years about the efforts. Hansen acknowledged his investment group was surprised by the City Council’s decision last May to deny a proposed street closure that would have moved the project forward with some public investment.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is joining the investment group looking to build a new NBA/NHL arena in Seattle’s stadium district. Lead investor Chris Hansen said Monday that Wilson is “a young, smart and passionate entrepreneur,” and is joining the group as a business partner.
Chris Hansen and his investment team on Tuesday offered to forgo public financing to build a new sports arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. The group also said it would cover the current funding gap to build an overpass over Lander Street, a project long desired by freight and industrial interests concerned about congestion in around the Port of Seattle. The proposal amounts to a stunning and swift turn in the nearly five-year debate over building a new arena and, ultimately, bringing a professional basketball and hockey team to the city.
Chris Hansen, Erik Nordstrom, Pete Nordstrom, Wally Walker: “In a letter to the Mayor and King County Executive — both of whom share our goal of bringing the Sonics and NHL back to Seattle — we described the steps we are willing to take to move the Arena project forward. First, we will direct contributions to a package of additional SODO traffic improvements, which will improve freight mobility through the area. Second, we agreed to commit future payment of compensation for the vacated street to the city’s financing package for the Lander Street Overpass, thereby helping to close the funding gap for that important project. Finally, we have agreed to revising the street vacation petition to eliminate public financing of the Arena. Terminating the MOU would allow the city and county to recoup the $200 million in debt capacity and free-up Arena tax-generated revenue streams. To make this all possible we have asked for approval of a revised conditional street vacation, a waiver of the city’s admissions tax, which has been granted for the other sports venues in Seattle, and an adjustment of the city’s B&O tax for revenue generated out of town.”
Chris Hansen, Erik Nordstrom, Pete Nordstrom, Wally Walker: “We are hopeful these additional steps will address the concerns of the Council so the Arena project can move forward – which remains the critical first step to bringing the NBA and NHL back to Seattle. Go Sonics!”