BY Art Thiel 07:30AM 04/30/2012

Hansen, Part 2: “This arena is not a hobby”

Proposed arena builder Chris Hansen wants to be majority owner of an NBA (not NHL) team because he thinks he can make “a big impact.” That won’t include showing off on the sidelines.

Site of the proposed new arena in SoDo. First Avenue South is the western boundary; the Safeco Field garage is to the north. / City of Seattle

Longtime Sonics fan and Seattle native Chris Hansen surprised the local sports and civic scene in February with his offer of $290 million in private capital to help fund a $500 million arena in the SoDo district.  He sat down for lunch with Sportspress Northwest columnist Art Thiel Thursday for an exclusive, extensive interview.

Part One of the question-and-answer session was published Friday at Sportspress Northwest and can can be found here. In Part Two, Hansen talks about what he’s looking for in partners, his “wrestling” with being the lead investor, the “under-appreciated” virtues of the proposed funding, and the arena’s size. As has been his custom, he declined to answer specific questions about potential team re-locations, nor identify potential local partners.

Q. Please clear up some public confusion about the potential timing of simultaneous pursuits of re-locations from the NBA and NHL.

A. Seattle has a a 41-year history with basketball, and as interested as people are in bringing a hockey franchise here, basketball is a multiple of that  The chances of two teams signing on the same day is difficult. We could get an agreement from the NHL sooner, but I would consider that unlikely. I think people want basketball first and hockey to follow soon after.

Everything we’re doing is to bring both sports. When you see the design, you’ll see we are building an arena to accommodate hockey that will be substantially more expensive and technically inferior for watching basketball. We have to make compromises in seating pitch, seats in relation to the floor and other compromises to the fan experience, at significant cost. There’s no way we would do that if we weren’t planning on hockey.

Q.The capacity at 18,000 seems only a little bigger than KeyArena (17,072). Is that a function of the building’s footprint on the available land (seven acres so far)?

A. I don’t think we need bigger capacity. We need to build the arena to the market. To build more seats increases the construction cost. The quality of the arena is more important than seating capacity.  You want appropriate supply/demand balance more than you would excessive seats, both from a fan experience standpoint and a financial viability standpoint.

If you have trouble selling out for your events, the arena becomes cavernous instead of intimate. Fans like to be part of games when it’s packed. It makes it more exciting. You err on the side of under-supplying the market for main events.

Q. Is the size of the lot a part of the decision on capacity?

A. Partially. More importantly, its supply/demand, the cost to build the extra seats and the fan experience, the liveliness and not being cavernous.

Q. What besides the two sports-team schedules is needed to make the building financially viable?

A. You’re going to see a lot more top live acts at this arena. The load-in, load-out is a real problem at KeyArena for the bigger acts. The acts either make do, bail, or come to Seattle in the few summer days when the weather is a good for an outdoor stadium.

Katy Perry probably travels with 14 tractor-trailers. They need to get in one day and out in one day to get to the next stop. That’s not a solvable problem at the Key in its current configuration. The Key needs a major reallocation of space and a major infrastructure upgrade.

Our assumptions for the new arena are between 10-15 major concerts and 15-20 minor concerts. The rest of the events are family and community things that don’t draw on the building’s full capacity. We’re not going to put in 200 full-capacity nights. Not gonna happen.

The venue is viable with NBA and NHL. Everything else is gravy. In the right market, you can do it with one team. What doesn’t work is if you have rival arenas of the same size that promoters can pit against one another to the point of insolvency.

Q. What does the MOU say about KeyArena?

A. Our assumption all along is that KeyArena will be non-competitive. Our job is to give the city options to make KeyArena viable. We’ll have more to say about that. Without us, the city is having a tough time financially at the Key with things like capital improvements.

Q. AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group of Los Angeles) is the the manager of KeyArena right now. Is that company, which was co-investing in the proposed arena in Sacramento that apparently has been scrapped, going to be involved with your arena?

A. I’d rather not say right now. There’s still a lot up in the air with KeyArena. It’s the city’s decision what to do with this.

Q. How do you define your role with the arena?

A. It would be as co-owner with the city and NHL team.  A tri-party agreement. The city will own $200 million worth of the arena and the NBA/NHL will own $300 million of the arena.  The NBA/NHL would be operators of the arena. The city has no desire to be the operator. Not even a point of discussion.

Q. What would be the relationship with a potential NHL team in your building?

A. It will be 50-50ish. All the dynamics between myself and a co-owner have yet to be determined. There would be enough in the deal to assure that it would be operated in the mutual best interests of all.

There can be problems with rival ownerships, but that’s why it’s important to get it in writing, up front.

Q. Are you open to being the NHL owner?

A. Less so financially, but I think it’s beyond my reach from a bandwidth perspective. I wouldn’t want to assume responsibility for being an NBA owner, NHL owner, a dad and and my business. My priorities are my family and my responsibilities to partners and employees in my investment business. The sports project is third. If I spread myself too thin, I won’t be effective.

I’m passionate about basketball and Seattle. There’s probably someone equally passionate about hockey in Seattle. That’s the person Seattle should want to be the owner.

Q.  Sports-team ownership often becomes far more consuming than most imagine who haven’t done it before. Do you see yourself phasing out of your investment business?

A. Absolutely not. And getting to my kids softball games, being there for my wife, mother, brothers and sisters . . . it depends on how you define your role.

In my view, owners overreach. I don’t imagine I’m going to be successful in basketball-player evaluations.  My objective is to put the right people in place and hold them to certain ethical and moral standards. My job is more about hiring the right people and setting a standard, and assuring the financial solvency of the ownership group.

Some owners have this god-like belief they can fix the sports business like they fix their own business. That gets dangerous.

Q. How will you feel when your kids get made fun of when your team loses a lot?

A. I have a very thick skin. I have to in my business. I’m very patient, very long term in everything I do. I’m happy to be engaged in this (arena-building project) for four, five, six years, however long it takes to nurture the project as required.

Q. Why do this now in your life?

A. I wrestled with it. There’s an adverse selection process for most owners, where many choose not to get involved with professional sports for the reasons you described. That leaves sports with some owners who are more egotistical and focused on the short term. Then you see some bad outcomes. Some of it’s due to the job, some of it’s the people. I’m very happy to deflect attention and success to people in my organization who are more deserving of it.

If there’s one thing that I want to resonate, it’s that in the neighborhoods I grew up in (Rainier Valley primarily), professional sports are unique in their ability to affect youth. It’s a cop-out for ownerships to not recognize that.

I don’t have to be standing on the sidelines cheering. The owners who are less seen, tend to be more successful.  I don’t mean detached. You can’t be detached. This is not a hobby. It requires commitment at the highest level.

Q. Would you move to Seattle?

A. I wouldn’t move. I will be here a lot. My entire family lives here. I will come up here as much as it takes, and to support the team.

Q. Is it imperative for you to be the managing general partner, or do you see another scenario?

A. No. At this point it’s imperative that I be a majority owner. That’s an NBA rule too. I think we crossed the line of no one else stepping forward to do that, which is what I wrestled with it for a long time. If I could have laid it out for myself, I would have preferred to be a minority investor, with longer-term aspirations to be a majority owner when the time was ripe for me in my life.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what should be done in an organization. I basically will be handed a blank canvas to re-create the priorities of fan experience in basketball, as opposed to someone who just buys a team. It would be very difficult to sacrifice those things right now. I can have a big impact.

Q. What kind of person and profile are you seeking for an investment partner?

A. My first objective is to assure that if something happens to me, the business will be in good hands, with the same principles I have, which will assure the team never leaves Seattle. I have a short list (of people) for that. The rest will be similar-minded people who are advocates for the community, who you would want in ownership and who would view the world the same way I do.

I’d rather not comment on specifics. But I think many could put together a list of those people who would fit that description in Seattle. It’s a puzzle. You don’t want too few or too many. You want them to share your morals and values, and are going to take the time to make an impact.

Q. Every potential owner-partner can come with his or her own agenda. How do you manage that?

A. The previous group had 58 members. That’s too many. Less than 10 is a better number. I would encourage a diversity of opinions and perspective. You want them to have your values but not necessarily your perspective. That’s helpful.

Q. Have you made agreements with any investors?

A. Let’s put it this way. There’s nothing to sign up for right now. There are a lot of people who are interested. There’s a question for me as to how they fit in, and a question for them of how it fits into their lives and priorities. I’m not under any pressure to to put a group together. I’m financing the land acquisition myself. There will be plenty of household names on the list. I think you guys (media) should rest assured that a lot of the right people are interested.

Q. Have you vetted some candidates?

A. A lesser known aspect of my job (as a hedge-fund manager) is that I’m constantly vetting people. We invest in companies all over the world. A starting point is: How good is the management team of this company? I make a living at it. It’s both intuitive and fact-based. We also look at companies where we bet against. We find frauds and crooks too. And the NBA vets these guys too.

Q. Regarding the public portion of the funding of the arena, you believe the value of the contribution has not been widely understood. Please review the proposal.

A. The basis of our understanding with the mayor was that we wanted the very direct, non-substitutable, tax revenues from the city generated by arena activity that otherwise would not exist. Everything that’s indirect belongs to the city — we don’t want a rental car tax, or an incremental increase in the local sales tax.

That means that coming to us would be the admission taxes on our ticket sales, property tax on the stepped-up value on which we’re building on the arena itself, taxes on sales and merchandise, as well as B&O taxes. A bond against these revenues is the public contribution. For that, we will sell the public the land at fair market value. It’s not as if the public contribution goes to some mythical place.

The city will own the real estate, and if the city decides to blow up the arena in 35 years, I’m pretty sure that land will be worth a helluva lot more than it is now, given its location.

The rest of the public contribution is going into the building shell, for which we we pay a negotiated amount of rent. In addition, we’ll put up the security to guarantee the revenue stream. Part of this deal that is not well understood is that ownership will have so much equity in the deal that we will not miss a rent payment. If somehow we did, someone else (another ownership) would step in and buy this (franchise) before it went into default.

Rather than us debate with the city about whether we think the tax revenues are X and the city thinks it’s Y, it won’t matter, because we will make up any shortfall in any year. Doesn’t matter about (tax revenue) projections. Doesn’t matter about rent. We will have so much equity, $300 million, in the project, why would we ever throw our arena into default over $2 million or $3 million in annual rent? It’s crazy.

The city has asked: What if revenues go to zero? Well, property taxes won’t go to zero, and people are going to show up for games and pay something. (The fear) is just not realistic.

Still, the city wanted more security, so we’re working on something for more funds to guarantee it. The levels of security for this transaction are unprecedented. Compared to any other arena deal ever done, the safety and the amount of equity we have in it, default is a near-zero probability.

It’s a new arrangement, and probably held up to the detriment of other cities (laughs) as the way to do arena deals. I think (the virtues) are under-appreciated. We could have come in with a deal for a free arena, and still some people would have objected. I think people forget what a great deal we’re giving the city.

Q. Why not do a privately funded building similar to what the Giants ownership did to create AT&T Park in San Francisco?

A. Seattle isn’t as big a market as San Francisco. It’s hard to get a return on any building like this, so there’s no doubt the public contribution enhances its financial viability. Make no mistake about it, we getting our taxes forgiven, getting that back in form of a bond.

We are getting a waiver on taxes that would not exist if we had not come. That makes the project net neutral for the city. But this is not a zero sum game for the region. (Arena attendees) are going to come from outside the city limits to spend entertainment dollars here rather than in their local communities. So this benefit is to the detriment of tax revenues in other cities: Seattle’s plus is other cities’ minus. If we bring 150 event nights to the city, there’s no doubt tax revenues would be generated for the city outside the four walls of the arena.

To make the argument that the funding plan is not net neutral to the entire Puget Sound region is somewhat fair. To make the argument that it’s not net positive for Seattle would be incorrect.

It’s a complex mechanism, and we’ve spent a lot of time with the city and county staffers on it. But it comes down to the fact that we are seeking dollars that wouldn’t otherwise come to the city.

Q. What remains to be done on the MOU?

A. I won’t say there’s resolution, but there’s an understanding between county, city and us. We’re solving minor, technical issues. Our negotiations with the city have been about ‘How do we get this done?’ We’ve never asked anything more. The city and county have been good on their word.

Q. If the traffic study you are funding comes up with an expensive mitigation cost, what happens?

A. There’s a dual obligation. It’s my obligation to make sure that for this project, the pluses outweigh the minuses — a net positive. And there’s some obligation from me to be part of the discussion that resolves the longer-term issues facing the project.

And the city and county have an obligation. Pinning the entire (traffic mitigation) issue on me, I would say, is unfair. Pinning the broader issues that pre-dated me and will post-date me, is unfair. We would be one of many constituencies down there to figure it out.


YourThoughts

  • notaboomer

    who vets the vetter?

    • Artthiel

       The city has vetted Hansen. I think that confidentiality agreements are in place for private financial information. But if they had found dubious info, it would be a huge political risk to overlook or hide it.

  • notaboomer

    who vets the vetter?

    • Artthiel

       The city has vetted Hansen. I think that confidentiality agreements are in place for private financial information. But if they had found dubious info, it would be a huge political risk to overlook or hide it.

  • jafabian

    After reading this I think I might be even less convinced on all this.  So the area he’s proposing will seat 18,000?  That says that the luxury box suites are not what Hansen wants IMO.  But if that’s the case then wouldn’t being next to Safeco Field and Century Link Field be like putting a burger restaurant next to a burger restaurant?  What led Howard Schultz to want more revovations to the then ten year old Key Arena was in his opinion that both those stadiums offered better luxury suites.  (the fact that the Sonics performed poorly under his stewartship never entered the equation)  I’d think being next to the competition would only compound things once the M’s and Paul Allen upgraded.  You’d end up having this luxury box suite war bettween both parties.  Don’t they have better things to spend their money on?  The M’s keep upgrading Safeco but that hasn’t translated into a better product on the field.

    And I’m not quite sure what the difference is here if the city owns the property of this new arena how this is any different than what the Key offers.  Again, from what I draw from all this is that the issue is the luxury suites and in this day and age I don’t believe that’s where revenue comes from for a sucessful team.  It’s their market and where they reach out to.  Look at the Yankees.  Sure they pack it in at Yankee Stadium but they make so much more from the YES Network.  The Knicks are the same with the MSG Network.  What Hansen should be asking is for help in starting up something comparable.  No, Seattle is not they NYC market but with some help a Seattle based NBA/NHL product would reach out to all of Washington and not just the Puget Sound region as well as Idaho, Montana, maybe British Columbia, Alaska.  Possibly Eastern Oregon and Northern California. (might be a stretch but you never know)  I remember when the Sonics opened the season in Tokyo.  They really should have been wheeling and dealing over there to get a TV/radio deal going in addition to playing there.  Maybe the current US Ambasador to China could help broker things as well?  I believe Seattle might have a relationship there.  This is the direction that the NBA should be going in rather than making sure everyone has some Burj Al Arab style arena.  It’s the Internet age and the NBA needs to adapt to that.  I agree with Hansen when he says that a half empty arena runs counter to what a club is trying to accomplish but if that’s the case the current Key Arena is more than adequate IMO.  At least that’s how I read all this.

    If allocation of space is the issue with Key Arena as Hansen states then it would be an easy matter to bring down Memorial Statium which I don’t think the city would have issues with doing.  That would free up a lot of space and if necessary allow a reconfiguration of the Key.

    Disagree that the problem with the Schultz ownership group was that it was too large.  The problem with it was who was heading it.  I think there was more to owning an NBA team than Schultz realized and his selling the team to the OKC group was his way of sticking it to the city since they declined his request to remodel the Key.

     

    • Gstommylee

      Key arena does NOT meet NBA and NHL specs.  For Seattle to get a NHL team they have to build a new arena period.  City does not own Memorial stadium the school district does.

      • jafabian

        Yes, for an NHL team Key Arena would need to be reconfigured but for the NBA it’s fine.  David Stern said he wants it to seat more than 20,000 but right here in this very column Hansen says otherwise.  And most school districts have their own stadiums.  Memorial isn’t needed and needs to be be overhauled anyways for it to continue since it’s lined with asbestos.  The Seattle Center has never been a good location for it and with the Fun Forest gone it’s counter for what they’re trying to do at the Center, especially with the Chihuly Glass exhibit opens up.

        • Gstommylee

           Key arena won’t work for long term for the NBA either.  Key Arena would need to be rebuilt for it to work for the NHL.

          • Yadda23

             The the NBS can build a facility in Bellevue, because they want it.

        • rambisfan

          Where did Stern say it had to seat 20k???

  • jafabian

    After reading this I think I might be even less convinced on all this.  So the area he’s proposing will seat 18,000?  That says that the luxury box suites are not what Hansen wants IMO.  But if that’s the case then wouldn’t being next to Safeco Field and Century Link Field be like putting a burger restaurant next to a burger restaurant?  What led Howard Schultz to want more revovations to the then ten year old Key Arena was in his opinion that both those stadiums offered better luxury suites.  (the fact that the Sonics performed poorly under his stewartship never entered the equation)  I’d think being next to the competition would only compound things once the M’s and Paul Allen upgraded.  You’d end up having this luxury box suite war bettween both parties.  Don’t they have better things to spend their money on?  The M’s keep upgrading Safeco but that hasn’t translated into a better product on the field.

    And I’m not quite sure what the difference is here if the city owns the property of this new arena how this is any different than what the Key offers.  Again, from what I draw from all this is that the issue is the luxury suites and in this day and age I don’t believe that’s where revenue comes from for a sucessful team.  It’s their market and where they reach out to.  Look at the Yankees.  Sure they pack it in at Yankee Stadium but they make so much more from the YES Network.  The Knicks are the same with the MSG Network.  What Hansen should be asking is for help in starting up something comparable.  No, Seattle is not they NYC market but with some help a Seattle based NBA/NHL product would reach out to all of Washington and not just the Puget Sound region as well as Idaho, Montana, maybe British Columbia, Alaska.  Possibly Eastern Oregon and Northern California. (might be a stretch but you never know)  I remember when the Sonics opened the season in Tokyo.  They really should have been wheeling and dealing over there to get a TV/radio deal going in addition to playing there.  Maybe the current US Ambasador to China could help broker things as well?  I believe Seattle might have a relationship there.  This is the direction that the NBA should be going in rather than making sure everyone has some Burj Al Arab style arena.  It’s the Internet age and the NBA needs to adapt to that.  I agree with Hansen when he says that a half empty arena runs counter to what a club is trying to accomplish but if that’s the case the current Key Arena is more than adequate IMO.  At least that’s how I read all this.

    If allocation of space is the issue with Key Arena as Hansen states then it would be an easy matter to bring down Memorial Statium which I don’t think the city would have issues with doing.  That would free up a lot of space and if necessary allow a reconfiguration of the Key.

    Disagree that the problem with the Schultz ownership group was that it was too large.  The problem with it was who was heading it.  I think there was more to owning an NBA team than Schultz realized and his selling the team to the OKC group was his way of sticking it to the city since they declined his request to remodel the Key.

     

    • Gstommylee

      Key arena does NOT meet NBA and NHL specs.  For Seattle to get a NHL team they have to build a new arena period.  City does not own Memorial stadium the school district does.

      • jafabian

        Yes, for an NHL team Key Arena would need to be reconfigured but for the NBA it’s fine.  David Stern said he wants it to seat more than 20,000 but right here in this very column Hansen says otherwise.  And most school districts have their own stadiums.  Memorial isn’t needed and needs to be be overhauled anyways for it to continue since it’s lined with asbestos.  The Seattle Center has never been a good location for it and with the Fun Forest gone it’s counter for what they’re trying to do at the Center, especially with the Chihuly Glass exhibit opens up.

        • Gstommylee

           Key arena won’t work for long term for the NBA either.  Key Arena would need to be rebuilt for it to work for the NHL.

          • Yadda23

             The the NBS can build a facility in Bellevue, because they want it.

        • rambisfan

          Where did Stern say it had to seat 20k???

  • Bradshaw

    It’s really important that the City Council and County Council hear from anyone who’s opposed to the Sodo arena. Those of us who have reservations about Hansen’s plan have been troubled by the fact that he seems to think he can ram this proposal through without adequate public involvement. He was in secret talks with Mayor McGinn for months until this thing came out, and that was only because the Seattle Times did a records request for conversations between Hansen and McGinn.

    Some people who don’t think Sodo is the right place for an arena have joined up on Twitter and Facebook. Join us to get updates on the arena issue and more about contacting your City and Council members.

    https://twitter.com/#!/ArenaChoices

    https://www.facebook.com/ArenaChoices

    • Gstommylee

       The public already had their say when they voted for I-91. No other location would work for the arena.

      • Gstommylee

         It’ll cost more money to build it outside of seattle since the infrastructure to support the arena like parking garage has to be built.  They already did a site survey for possible locations for the arena and Sodo district is the best location of the arena.   Light rail, 2 interstates, parking garages, ferries, sounder train and buses. 

        • Yadda23

           ” They already did a site survey for possible locations for the arena and Sodo district is the best location of the arena.”

          No they didn’t. Total lie. Let’s see the paperwork. There isn’t any!

          • Gstommylee

             And what you think they did back in July of 2011.  He looked at Key arena and that due to transportation issues would not work.  He picked Sodo district cause of all the transportation options to get to that arena.  

            Just cause he didn’t PUBLICLY say they looked at different sites doesn’t mean he didn’t do that.

            He already bought the land to build the arena in the Sodo district if it ends up where a deal for arena doesn’t work, he’ll walk away and we will have to start from scratch.  

            No arena deal will get better than this.  

          • Yadda23

             Baloney. There is no record, so no search happened. The fix was in because the Mayor was meeting with Hansen a year ago.

      • Artthiel

         I-91 had nothing to do with location. It mandated a specified payment from pro teams profiting from use of public facilities. So far, proponents of I-91 have offered no specific objection to Hansen’s plan. 

        • Gstommylee

          Sorry i didn’t mean to put the two together.  I was responding to different things that Bradshaw brought up.

          I meant that the public did have their say when they approved I-91.  

          And location wise, i think there isn’t any other location that would be better for the arena than the Sodo site given that everything is already there to support the arena.

          Building it else where would only increase the cost of the arena. Nevermind the traffic issue would be just as bad if not worse if the arena was built else where.

          • Grover

            The voters have had NO say on this particular proposal.  What a liar.

          • Gstommylee

            The voters when they approved I-91 set the framework for all future sports facility proposal in the city of Seattle so yes they had their say.  It’ll be I-91 compliant.

            I don’t see why they need another public vote cause it doesn’t involve public tax payers (new taxes or from general fund)

          • Yadda23

             Baloney. Maybe McGinn would like to release all of the documents where his attorneys– you know, the ones that held the secret meetings in their office to “control the environment”– proposed their workaround I-91. You can find a loop hole in any law,  but doing so in this case circumvents the public’s decision.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NC2F6WTDPHDPIH2BUFNCWCUGSE Mark

            What brand of tin foil is you hat made of? Make an open records request if you think there’s something hidden.

          • Grover

            How stupid.  I-91 said a sports arena had to meet certain criteria.  It did not say that any proposal meeting that criteria was automatcially approved.  I-91 did not approve building anything, let alone this particular building.

            This proposal involves the city selling bonds, and the city using tax revenues to build a pro sports arena.  Voters have not had a chance to vote on that yet.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            The people have directly spoken about their objections to the city’s participation in sports facilities, done.
            We have a representative form of government, those representatives have already determined by zoning where sports facilities can be located in the city, creating a Stadium District, done.
            The public, again, will had its voice heard to this specific proposal during the arena review panel open public comment sessions.
            The public will, again, have the opportunity the have their voices heard on this specific proposal during the public comment periods during the city and county council legislative deliberations.

            The public has had and will have many opportunities to have their voices heard.

          • Grover

            When is the public vote on whether or not to approve this proposal?  Those public hearings are a complete sham and everyone with any commone sense knows that.  Sort of like “stakeholders” committees.  lol

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            There will be a vote by the public when you get off your ass and collect enough signatures to put it on a ballot.
            Do it yourself.

        • Grover

          So far Hansen has not explained how he thinks this proposal satifies I-91.  Why didn’t you even ask him that question?

          • Gstommylee

            That kind of question rather the arena proposal is compliant with I-91 is something you should be asking Mayor Mcginn.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            I asked Mayor Mike McGinn that question on SeattleChannel’s “Ask the Mayor” last Thursday. He staed that the proposal complied with I-91. Argue with the mayor if you don’t believe him.

          • Grover

            So, Mayor McGinn says so?  That’s it?  lol

            McGinn is a proven idiot.

            Show me the study by the independent experts from outside of Seattle.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            Ask the mayor for such things, ask Chris Van Dyke for his opinion.

            Where is your biased research showing that it doesn’t comply with I-91?
            Saying it doesn’t will not make it true.

      • Grover

        What an utter load of crap.  The public has absolutely NOT voted on whether or not they want to invest $200 million of public funds in a new NBA/NHL arena in SODO.  How ignorant can you be?

        When did we vote on a new arena in the SODO area?

        • Gstommylee

           Question gorver, where is the 200m coming form?  If its from general fund or through new taxes then you have an argument that it should be a public vote. 

          200m in construction bonds that is being generated by revenue from the arena, property tax and rent. No arena no 200m. 

          • Grover

            TAX revenue from the arena belongs to the public!  Look at the website for the proposal.  It says $200 million in PUBLIC money.  Is that sort of complicated for you, or what?

            Does tax revenue from a new hotel belong to the public, or to the hotel?

            That is an IQ test for you. 
             

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            And the public is deciding to participate in building an arena with the direct tax revinue it otherwise wouldn’t have, and benefit from the secondary taxes, and the economic activity in the Stadium District during the currently dead winter months.

            Unlike the other entertainment houses the city has participated in over the past few decades this one doesnt tax from the general fund, or require a special levy on city property owners.

            The next time somebody wants some theater built they should anticipate being able to avoid the city general fund, avoid slipping it into a parks levy.
            Good luck with that.

          • Grover

            The public has not decided a damn thing about a new arena, yet.  A public vote will let the public decide.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            We live in a representative democracy.
            Your public servants are representing you in their deliberations.

            The public voted on guidelines for them to go by.

    • Artthiel

       Bradshaw, I have no impression from talking to Hansen that he wanted to blow past public input. He knew there would be opposition, and that it would be heard, and the politicians would have to respond with changes. There is always a fight between urgency and process in these projects. He’d also like fair consideration given his plan.

      • Gstommylee

        Like the articles you did on the arena. Keep up the good work.

      • Grover

        How does he feel about letting the public vote on this proposal?  And why didn’t you ask him that question?

      • Yadda23

         Do all bad ideas merit equal fair consideration?

    • Grover

      What you should be doing is preparing a referendum on any arena plan that the city council may pass, to force it to a public vote.

      I also recommend an initiative stating that no sports arena receiving any tax revenue or being financed in any part by city-backed bonds can be built without being approved by the voters in a public vote.

      Either of these would be very easy to get enough signatures for.  But, you must have them prepared and ready to go.

      You could do each of them boty city-wide and county-wide.

    • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

      Bitter Bellevue folks gathering on Facebook in “opposition” to not getting an arena proposal together for the east side is the largest red herring of all.

      In opposition as if any of your complaints would somehow be mitigated by putting an arena over there.

      • Yadda23

         You’re late to the party, Mike

        • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

          Not as late as Bellevue.

  • Bradshaw

    It’s really important that the City Council and County Council hear from anyone who’s opposed to the Sodo arena. Those of us who have reservations about Hansen’s plan have been troubled by the fact that he seems to think he can ram this proposal through without adequate public involvement. He was in secret talks with Mayor McGinn for months until this thing came out, and that was only because the Seattle Times did a records request for conversations between Hansen and McGinn.

    Some people who don’t think Sodo is the right place for an arena have joined up on Twitter and Facebook. Join us to get updates on the arena issue and more about contacting your City and Council members.

    https://twitter.com/#!/ArenaChoices

    https://www.facebook.com/ArenaChoices

    • Gstommylee

       The public already had their say when they voted for I-91. No other location would work for the arena.

      • Gstommylee

         It’ll cost more money to build it outside of seattle since the infrastructure to support the arena like parking garage has to be built.  They already did a site survey for possible locations for the arena and Sodo district is the best location of the arena.   Light rail, 2 interstates, parking garages, ferries, sounder train and buses. 

        • Yadda23

           ” They already did a site survey for possible locations for the arena and Sodo district is the best location of the arena.”

          No they didn’t. Total lie. Let’s see the paperwork. There isn’t any!

          • Gstommylee

             And what you think they did back in July of 2011.  He looked at Key arena and that due to transportation issues would not work.  He picked Sodo district cause of all the transportation options to get to that arena.  

            Just cause he didn’t PUBLICLY say they looked at different sites doesn’t mean he didn’t do that.

            He already bought the land to build the arena in the Sodo district if it ends up where a deal for arena doesn’t work, he’ll walk away and we will have to start from scratch.  

            No arena deal will get better than this.  

          • Yadda23

             Baloney. There is no record, so no search happened. The fix was in because the Mayor was meeting with Hansen a year ago.

      • Artthiel

         I-91 had nothing to do with location. It mandated a specified payment from pro teams profiting from use of public facilities. So far, proponents of I-91 have offered no specific objection to Hansen’s plan. 

        • Gstommylee

          Sorry i didn’t mean to put the two together.  I was responding to different things that Bradshaw brought up.

          I meant that the public did have their say when they approved I-91.  

          And location wise, i think there isn’t any other location that would be better for the arena than the Sodo site given that everything is already there to support the arena.

          Building it else where would only increase the cost of the arena. Nevermind the traffic issue would be just as bad if not worse if the arena was built else where.

          • Grover

            The voters have had NO say on this particular proposal.  What a liar.

          • Gstommylee

            The voters when they approved I-91 set the framework for all future sports facility proposal in the city of Seattle so yes they had their say.  It’ll be I-91 compliant.

            I don’t see why they need another public vote cause it doesn’t involve public tax payers (new taxes or from general fund)

          • Yadda23

             Baloney. Maybe McGinn would like to release all of the documents where his attorneys– you know, the ones that held the secret meetings in their office to “control the environment”– proposed their workaround I-91. You can find a loop hole in any law,  but doing so in this case circumvents the public’s decision.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NC2F6WTDPHDPIH2BUFNCWCUGSE Mark

            What brand of tin foil is you hat made of? Make an open records request if you think there’s something hidden.

          • Grover

            How stupid.  I-91 said a sports arena had to meet certain criteria.  It did not say that any proposal meeting that criteria was automatcially approved.  I-91 did not approve building anything, let alone this particular building.

            This proposal involves the city selling bonds, and the city using tax revenues to build a pro sports arena.  Voters have not had a chance to vote on that yet.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            The people have directly spoken about their objections to the city’s participation in sports facilities, done.
            We have a representative form of government, those representatives have already determined by zoning where sports facilities can be located in the city, creating a Stadium District, done.
            The public, again, will had its voice heard to this specific proposal during the arena review panel open public comment sessions.
            The public will, again, have the opportunity the have their voices heard on this specific proposal during the public comment periods during the city and county council legislative deliberations.

            The public has had and will have many opportunities to have their voices heard.

          • Grover

            When is the public vote on whether or not to approve this proposal?  Those public hearings are a complete sham and everyone with any commone sense knows that.  Sort of like “stakeholders” committees.  lol

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            There will be a vote by the public when you get off your ass and collect enough signatures to put it on a ballot.
            Do it yourself.

        • Grover

          So far Hansen has not explained how he thinks this proposal satifies I-91.  Why didn’t you even ask him that question?

          • Gstommylee

            That kind of question rather the arena proposal is compliant with I-91 is something you should be asking Mayor Mcginn.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            I asked Mayor Mike McGinn that question on SeattleChannel’s “Ask the Mayor” last Thursday. He staed that the proposal complied with I-91. Argue with the mayor if you don’t believe him.

          • Grover

            So, Mayor McGinn says so?  That’s it?  lol

            McGinn is a proven idiot.

            Show me the study by the independent experts from outside of Seattle.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            Ask the mayor for such things, ask Chris Van Dyke for his opinion.

            Where is your biased research showing that it doesn’t comply with I-91?
            Saying it doesn’t will not make it true.

      • Grover

        What an utter load of crap.  The public has absolutely NOT voted on whether or not they want to invest $200 million of public funds in a new NBA/NHL arena in SODO.  How ignorant can you be?

        When did we vote on a new arena in the SODO area?

        • Gstommylee

           Question gorver, where is the 200m coming form?  If its from general fund or through new taxes then you have an argument that it should be a public vote. 

          200m in construction bonds that is being generated by revenue from the arena, property tax and rent. No arena no 200m. 

          • Grover

            TAX revenue from the arena belongs to the public!  Look at the website for the proposal.  It says $200 million in PUBLIC money.  Is that sort of complicated for you, or what?

            Does tax revenue from a new hotel belong to the public, or to the hotel?

            That is an IQ test for you. 
             

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            And the public is deciding to participate in building an arena with the direct tax revinue it otherwise wouldn’t have, and benefit from the secondary taxes, and the economic activity in the Stadium District during the currently dead winter months.

            Unlike the other entertainment houses the city has participated in over the past few decades this one doesnt tax from the general fund, or require a special levy on city property owners.

            The next time somebody wants some theater built they should anticipate being able to avoid the city general fund, avoid slipping it into a parks levy.
            Good luck with that.

          • Grover

            The public has not decided a damn thing about a new arena, yet.  A public vote will let the public decide.

          • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

            We live in a representative democracy.
            Your public servants are representing you in their deliberations.

            The public voted on guidelines for them to go by.

            What you are unlikely to get is McGinn or the council dragging this into the public sphere for “vote talk” while they have a big push to get the libraries and sea wall passed.
            Would it make a difference to have your vote in November of 2013? That’s the

    • Artthiel

       Bradshaw, I have no impression from talking to Hansen that he wanted to blow past public input. He knew there would be opposition, and that it would be heard, and the politicians would have to respond with changes. There is always a fight between urgency and process in these projects. He’d also like fair consideration given his plan.

      • Gstommylee

        Like the articles you did on the arena. Keep up the good work.

      • Grover

        How does he feel about letting the public vote on this proposal?  And why didn’t you ask him that question?

      • Yadda23

         Do all bad ideas merit equal fair consideration?

    • Grover

      What you should be doing is preparing a referendum on any arena plan that the city council may pass, to force it to a public vote.

      I also recommend an initiative stating that no sports arena receiving any tax revenue or being financed in any part by city-backed bonds can be built without being approved by the voters in a public vote.

      Either of these would be very easy to get enough signatures for.  But, you must have them prepared and ready to go.

      You could do each of them boty city-wide and county-wide.

    • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

      Bitter Bellevue folks gathering on Facebook in “opposition” to not getting an arena proposal together for the east side is the largest red herring of all.

      In opposition as if any of your complaints would somehow be mitigated by putting an arena over there.

      • Yadda23

         You’re late to the party, Mike

        • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

          Not as late as Bellevue.

  • Yadda23

    “Seattle isn’t as big a market as San Francisco. It’s hard to get a
    return on any building like this, so there’s no doubt the public
    contribution enhances its financial viability.”

    And there you have it from the horse’s mouth. He needs a subsidy because the private market cannot produce a profit on its own accord.

    “My priorities are my family and my responsibilities to partners and
    employees in my investment business. The sports project is third”

    Sounds like a hobby to me.

    “The city will own $200 million worth of the arena and the NBA/NHL will
    own $300 million of the arena.  The NBA/NHL would be operators of the
    arena. The city has no desire to be the operator. Not even a point of
    discussion.”

    Which means the NBA also has the controlling interest.

    Hansen’s shell game and shoddy sales technique is very transparent when his words are transcribed.

    • Gstommylee

       This is not a subsidy.   Thee only way the public tax payers end up on the hook for the 200m if there is a default(worst case scenario).  And I’m sure Hansen, city and county are working on it to where there are protection against a possible default.

      • Yadda23

         When a party goes bankrupt, all contracts are null and void. And  yes it is a public subsidy. Maybe you think it pencils out, but it is still a public subsidy.

        • rambisfan

          No city should EVER put a cent toward hosting the Olympics either!

          • Yadda23

             red herring

          • rambisfan

            Why”

  • Yadda23

    “Seattle isn’t as big a market as San Francisco. It’s hard to get a
    return on any building like this, so there’s no doubt the public
    contribution enhances its financial viability.”

    And there you have it from the horse’s mouth. He needs a subsidy because the private market cannot produce a profit on its own accord.

    “My priorities are my family and my responsibilities to partners and
    employees in my investment business. The sports project is third”

    Sounds like a hobby to me.

    “The city will own $200 million worth of the arena and the NBA/NHL will
    own $300 million of the arena.  The NBA/NHL would be operators of the
    arena. The city has no desire to be the operator. Not even a point of
    discussion.”

    Which means the NBA also has the controlling interest.

    Hansen’s shell game and shoddy sales technique is very transparent when his words are transcribed.

    • Gstommylee

       This is not a subsidy.   Thee only way the public tax payers end up on the hook for the 200m if there is a default(worst case scenario).  And I’m sure Hansen, city and county are working on it to where there are protection against a possible default.

      • Yadda23

         When a party goes bankrupt, all contracts are null and void. And  yes it is a public subsidy. Maybe you think it pencils out, but it is still a public subsidy.

        • rambisfan

          No city should EVER put a cent toward hosting the Olympics either!

          • Yadda23

             red herring

          • rambisfan

            Why”

  • rambisfan

    “public investment makes it possible, private investment makes it spectacular”. The Seattle Worlds Fair…was a potent combination of BOTH….KCTS special on 50th anniversary

  • rambisfan

    “public investment makes it possible, private investment makes it spectacular”. The Seattle Worlds Fair…was a potent combination of BOTH….KCTS special on 50th anniversary

  • Grover

     ”you’ll see we are building an arena to accommodate hockey that will be substantially more expensive and technically inferior for watching basketball. ”

    In other words, KeyArena is a better place to watch basketball than the new arena would be.

    Great.
     

  • Grover

     ”you’ll see we are building an arena to accommodate hockey that will be substantially more expensive and technically inferior for watching basketball. ”

    In other words, KeyArena is a better place to watch basketball than the new arena would be.

    Great.
     

  • Grover

    “I don’t think we need bigger capacity. We need to build the arena to the market. To build more seats increases the construction cost. The quality of the arena is more important than seating capacity.  You want appropriate supply/demand balance more than you would excessive seats, both from a fan experience standpoint and a financial viability standpoint.”

    In other words, Hansen doesn’t want very many cheap seats.  He wants to charge the highest possible prices for tickets to events in the new arena.

  • Grover

    “I don’t think we need bigger capacity. We need to build the arena to the market. To build more seats increases the construction cost. The quality of the arena is more important than seating capacity.  You want appropriate supply/demand balance more than you would excessive seats, both from a fan experience standpoint and a financial viability standpoint.”

    In other words, Hansen doesn’t want very many cheap seats.  He wants to charge the highest possible prices for tickets to events in the new arena.

  • Grover

    “Our assumptions for the new arena are between 10-15 major concerts and 15-20 minor concerts. ”

    About what KeyArena hosts.  In other words, a new arena wouldn’t attract any more major concerts than KeyArena already does.

  • Grover

    “Our assumptions for the new arena are between 10-15 major concerts and 15-20 minor concerts. ”

    About what KeyArena hosts.  In other words, a new arena wouldn’t attract any more major concerts than KeyArena already does.

  • Grover

    “The city will own the real estate, and if the city decides to blow up the arena in 35 years, I’m pretty sure that land will be worth a helluva lot more than it is now, given its location.”

    Why would the city blow up the arena in 35 years, unless the arena would be worth nothing?  Hansen knows this arena will be worth nothing after the 30-year lease runs out, which is why he says that the land will be valuable only if the arena is blown up.  lol

    So, the city winds up with a 30-year-old arena which is worth nothing.  Sort of like the Kingdome and KeyArena.

    What is the return the city gets on its investment?

  • Grover

    “The city will own the real estate, and if the city decides to blow up the arena in 35 years, I’m pretty sure that land will be worth a helluva lot more than it is now, given its location.”

    Why would the city blow up the arena in 35 years, unless the arena would be worth nothing?  Hansen knows this arena will be worth nothing after the 30-year lease runs out, which is why he says that the land will be valuable only if the arena is blown up.  lol

    So, the city winds up with a 30-year-old arena which is worth nothing.  Sort of like the Kingdome and KeyArena.

    What is the return the city gets on its investment?

  • Grover

    “We will have so much equity, $300 million, in the project, why would we ever throw our arena into default over $2 million or $3 million in annual rent? It’s crazy.”

    They will have equity worth $300 million only in year one.  Every succeeding year that building loses value.  Judging from KeyArena, after about 15 years, the arena won’t be worth much of anything — the investors’ share certainly would not be worth close to $300 million any more.  And, if the team(s) were losing tons of money every year — which seems basically certain — what is the actual value of a venue that loses many millions of dollars every year?

    The investors’ money will already have been spent on the arena.  Would they prefer to stay and lose, say $10 to $20 million per year in a building that is worth almost nothing after 15 years?  Or, move to some other city where they might be able to make a profit?

    • rambisfan

       The Key Arena was a band-aid solution built on the cheap. It would never be able to hold an NHL tenant w/o enormous cost.

  • Grover

    “We will have so much equity, $300 million, in the project, why would we ever throw our arena into default over $2 million or $3 million in annual rent? It’s crazy.”

    They will have equity worth $300 million only in year one.  Every succeeding year that building loses value.  Judging from KeyArena, after about 15 years, the arena won’t be worth much of anything — the investors’ share certainly would not be worth close to $300 million any more.  And, if the team(s) were losing tons of money every year — which seems basically certain — what is the actual value of a venue that loses many millions of dollars every year?

    The investors’ money will already have been spent on the arena.  Would they prefer to stay and lose, say $10 to $20 million per year in a building that is worth almost nothing after 15 years?  Or, move to some other city where they might be able to make a profit?

    • rambisfan

       The Key Arena was a band-aid solution built on the cheap. It would never be able to hold an NHL tenant w/o enormous cost.

  • Grover

    “Make no mistake about it, we getting our taxes forgiven, getting that back in form of a bond.”

    Pure tax subsidy of billionaire pro sports owners, as clearly admitted by Hansen.  How does this comply with I-91?

  • Grover

    “Make no mistake about it, we getting our taxes forgiven, getting that back in form of a bond.”

    Pure tax subsidy of billionaire pro sports owners, as clearly admitted by Hansen.  How does this comply with I-91?

  • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

    The public has voted on the criteria, the city council can choose to act or not. That’s the downside of voting in policy that is broadly applied to any sports venture and not to just one particular sport proposal a few years ago. It’s very difficult to then go back and say you want to vote on every proposal, changing the criteria every time. The city has set criteria, a private entity has complied with that ordiinance in good faith, and purchased property based on established city policy in I-91.

    • Grover

      What a load of crap.  Any specific proposal using public funds should be voted on by the public.

      What are you afraid of, Baker?  That the public does not want to subsisdize Hansens group of wealthy investors?

      • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

        I fear nothing. You are failing to see the political reality of the situation.
        You are also failing to grasp the result of voting on and passing public policy like I-91.
        You are not going to get sufficient political support to rewrite I-91 everytime there is a proposal.

        Not only are they unwilling to do that now, but they completely waved I-91 for the Seattle Storm.

        I’m afraid you are in some sports hating fantasy that the only ultimate answer is no sports. The last survey that was made public put you in the minority, and every politician knows it, another reason they will not promote another vote.

        Collect your own signatures if you want a vote, it’s a loser, and everybody knows it except you.

        • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

          You will have to get all except 10% of the folks that “don’t care” in question 1, or 22% of the folks in question 3 to agree with you.
          http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=4736cb3d-04e3-4b93-a364-a0cb00ec8fd1
          The cost containment and compliance with I-91 make a public vote exceedingly unlikely.
          At no point would I expect McGinn to have brought this forward without extensive polling. He could not think about re-election if he had two ideas dragged to the ballot only to have him lose.

  • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

    The public has voted on the criteria, the city council can choose to act or not. That’s the downside of voting in policy that is broadly applied to any sports venture and not to just one particular sport proposal a few years ago. It’s very difficult to then go back and say you want to vote on every proposal, changing the criteria every time. The city has set criteria, a private entity has complied with that ordiinance in good faith, and purchased property based on established city policy in I-91.

    • Grover

      What a load of crap.  Any specific proposal using public funds should be voted on by the public.

      What are you afraid of, Baker?  That the public does not want to subsisdize Hansens group of wealthy investors?

      • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

        I fear nothing. You are failing to see the political reality of the situation.
        You are also failing to grasp the result of voting on and passing public policy like I-91.
        You are not going to get sufficient political support to rewrite I-91 everytime there is a proposal.

        Not only are they unwilling to do that now, but they completely waved I-91 for the Seattle Storm.

        I’m afraid you are in some sports hating fantasy that the only ultimate answer is no sports. The last survey that was made public put you in the minority, and every politician knows it, another reason they will not promote another vote.

        Collect your own signatures if you want a vote, it’s a loser, and everybody knows it except you.

        • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

          You will have to get all except 10% of the folks that “don’t care” in question 1, or 22% of the folks in question 3 to agree with you.
          http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=4736cb3d-04e3-4b93-a364-a0cb00ec8fd1
          The cost containment and compliance with I-91 make a public vote exceedingly unlikely.
          At no point would I expect McGinn to have brought this forward without extensive polling. He could not think about re-election if he had two ideas dragged to the ballot only to have him lose.

  • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

    Good luck with that.

  • http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ Mr Baker

    Good luck with that.

  • Neo-Realist

    What will be the capacity for the NHL specifically????  If it is 18K for the NBA then you’re talking 16K for the NHL, which will not be attractive to NHL suitors.  17.5K to 18K for the NHL at the least would be neccesary to attract NHL suitors which Hansen needs along with the NBA to make this a financially viable project for all involved.

  • Neo-Realist

    What will be the capacity for the NHL specifically????  If it is 18K for the NBA then you’re talking 16K for the NHL, which will not be attractive to NHL suitors.  17.5K to 18K for the NHL at the least would be neccesary to attract NHL suitors which Hansen needs along with the NBA to make this a financially viable project for all involved.

  • rambisfan

     How well do you know Mr Hansen?

  • rambisfan

     How well do you know Mr Hansen?

  • 1coolguy

    Very good interview Art – you covered a lot of ground in depth and have informed the readers well.

    Just one question was not asked directly, which I would have liked ot see the answer on, is “If the City were to make it very attractive, even pricing it at $0.00, would you consider rebuilding the Key?
    Mercer will be redone soon and the Key had no problems selling out when the Sonics were competitive, so why not save over $100m and go with the Key?”

    You discussed the Key with him but didn’t ask the direct question. I prefer his being given the Key to remodel/rebuild, which saves him $ and frankly saves the Center. The new arena will relegate the Key to White Elephant status and doom that part of the Center.

    • Neo-Realist

       Hansen mentioned traffic issues as a factor as to why he wasn’t interested in doing anything with the Key.

      I could see a rebuild working since you could remake it large enough to accommodate an NHL team, but not a remodel–the Key is encased in sort of a cement shell that prevents it from being expanded horizontally or vertically to increase capacity for the NHL.

      I don’t see the Key being relegated to a virtual obsolete status–Roller Derby attracts very good crowds, and the Storm has a lease for the next 10 years.  The city should consider attracting the indoor lacrosse team, the Washington Stealth from Everett to play at the Key.

  • 1coolguy

    Very good interview Art – you covered a lot of ground in depth and have informed the readers well.

    Just one question was not asked directly, which I would have liked ot see the answer on, is “If the City were to make it very attractive, even pricing it at $0.00, would you consider rebuilding the Key?
    Mercer will be redone soon and the Key had no problems selling out when the Sonics were competitive, so why not save over $100m and go with the Key?”

    You discussed the Key with him but didn’t ask the direct question. I prefer his being given the Key to remodel/rebuild, which saves him $ and frankly saves the Center. The new arena will relegate the Key to White Elephant status and doom that part of the Center.

    • Neo-Realist

       Hansen mentioned traffic issues as a factor as to why he wasn’t interested in doing anything with the Key.

      I could see a rebuild working since you could remake it large enough to accommodate an NHL team, but not a remodel–the Key is encased in sort of a cement shell that prevents it from being expanded horizontally or vertically to increase capacity for the NHL.

      I don’t see the Key being relegated to a virtual obsolete status–Roller Derby attracts very good crowds, and the Storm has a lease for the next 10 years.  The city should consider attracting the indoor lacrosse team, the Washington Stealth from Everett to play at the Key.

  • swab

    It’s only in Seattle where a proposal such as this has objections. Downright shameful if this doesnt happen because of “traffic”.

  • swab

    It’s only in Seattle where a proposal such as this has objections. Downright shameful if this doesnt happen because of “traffic”.