Chris Hansen Rumors
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!”
No longer are the Kings playing in the middle of a barren patch of land about eight miles from the city. Their new building, with a practice facility built in, is the centerpiece for a long-hoped for downtown renaissance, the fruit of the league’s decision to keep the team in Sacramento instead of allowing it to be sold to hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who planned to move the team to Seattle. (There is a reason the arena’s official address is 500 David J. Stern Walk.) “Amazing, amazing facility,” Coach Dave Joerger said Sunday night. “We’ve only played there once, so it’ll take some getting used to. But we’ve gotten four or five days in at the practice facility. And it’s not only how nice the arena is, but how significant it is, a sign of the work that so many people put in to keep the team in the city.”
Raul Barrigon: Brian Windhorst on the Kings keeping the franchise in Sacramento instead of Seattle having a team again: “Basically the NBA owners took a bribe… That’s a little bit of a crude term, but basically took a bribe that they wouldn’t have to give revenue sharing to Sacramento. In turn, allowed the Kings to put together a very weak ownership group. The offer from Seattle was a much more stable and stronger ownership group, with Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer.”