Mariners Stall Plans for New NBA Arena in Seattle
April 4, 2012
When hedge fund guru and Seattle native Chris Hansen expressed his plans to bring two additional sports franchises to Seattle, the city was filled with excitement. Hansen's group of investors would foot most of the bill for the construction of a new NBA arena while the city would contribute it's share. The city would also be entitled to portions of the revenue generated from the facility. Much of that plan was derailed on Tuesday when Mayor Mike McGinn received a letter from Seattle Mariners officials.
The Mariners feel that a new NBA arena would cause congestion to the area in addition to parking and scheduling issues. Hansen believes that the SODO section of town, also home to Century Link and Safeco Fields, has great zoning and is easily accessible via public transportation. Apparently the Port of Seattle, also feels the construction of a new NBA arena would threaten port operations and the jobs of thousands of Seattle's citizens. The organization didn't go into specifics but those are two giant oppositions of Hansen.
It's ironic that disputes over the construction of a new NBA arena is what led to the relocation of the Supersonics to Oklahoma City in the first place. And now the inability to construct is what's keeping a franchise from returning to once again become the Supersonics. Maybe Seattle is only meant to have two professional franchises. Three, if you count Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders.
Hansen is also pursuing an NHL franchise to become a co-tenant of the NBA franchise. While the sharing of a venue often works out financially, whether or not Seattle has the demographics that would support a hockey team is a big mystery. The city of Seattle wants a guarantee from both leagues that they will receive two franchises before they implement public funds to help pay for construction. What the NBA and NHL wants are cities that already have venues erected and ready to begin play. The city of Quebec just put themselves on the fast track to re-acquire an NHL team with an approval for a new NHL arena. Both leagues have made it clear that they have no intentions of expanding and will only allow the relocations of struggling franchises.