BY SPNW Staff 06:30AM 03/08/2013

SoDo arena proposal stirred on ‘Civic Cocktail’

A new, hour-long local TV event, “Civic Cocktail,” debuted on Seattle Channel this week. Kickoff topics were K-12 education and Chris Hansen’s arena proposal for SoDo.

Seattle Channel

The proposed Sodo basketball/arena project and the challenges of local K-12 education were topics for the first “Civic Cocktail,” a new televised community forum and networking event sponsored by, CityClub and the Seattle Channel.

Panelists included Sportspress NW’s Art Thiel, Highline School District Superintendent Susan Enfield, Crosscut editor Berit Anderson and Dominic Holden, news editor at the Stranger.

“Civic Cocktail” will be a monthly feature presented by the organizations with rotating panelists on topics of major interest in the Seattle market.

Host was Seattle Channel’s Brian Callanan, and the sold-out event was recorded Wednesday at the Palace Ballroom in downtown Seattle. Presenting sponsor was the Whitman Institute.¬† Seattle Channel¬† (ch. 21 on Comcast) provides a link at:

Clarification: In Thiel’s response to a question on the fate of KeyArena if a new arena is built, Hansen’s original proposal said that the Key had to be non-competitive in terms of event bookings. The amended MOU signed in October has language that is less definitive:

During the 12 months following approval of the MOU, the city will lead a planning effort to evaluate options for the future of Key Arena or the Key Arena site. The process will draw upon input from the Seattle Center Advisory Commission, professional from the real estate and entertainment fields, local stakeholders, and other with relevant expertise and interest.

“The goal of this process will be to identify options that are financially sustainable and that significantly contribute to the vitality of Seattle Center . . . the city will consider the interests of KeyArena’s current tenants and their role in ensuring the future success of KeyAren and the KeyArena site and the new arena.”





  • jafabian

    First off, I absolutely love Key Arena. IMO, it’s a great venue for basketball and other events. It has a great history and location, especially once the Mercer corridor is updated. But I’m biased since I’ve been going to events there since the when the Sonics expansion year and have a fondness for the old barn as George Karl used to call the place. However I understand that the current economics of the NBA prevent the Key from remaining as the home arena for the future Sonics.
    With that in mind I don’t see how the Key can remain open. Unless an NHL team comes on board in the new arena the Key will barely bring in any other events. Better to get rid of it and develop Seattle Center more into someting like Golden Gate Park. That would work better for the businesses in the Queen Anne area than a Key Arena that’s losing business to the Hansen Arena.

    • art thiel

      I think it needs be repurposed. The Storm and SU want to go to the big house, I’d make into the permanent home of SIFF. Big movie screens on the main floor; suites feature private screenings for parties of 16.

  • Mr Earl

    If the city taxpayers (the low income folks who pay taxes but can’t afford to go to the games) put up 23 millon dollars, isn’t that sufficient to buy the land and build the building? Why do we need an “investor” group? What is their money going toward? Uniforms?

    Does It seems incredible we even consider public support for any pro sports team considering the Supersonics moved with the first smell of oil money?

    What do you think will happen to our new “SuperKngs”?

    Will they move to Fargo and be called the “Frackers”?

    Halliburton’s got a lot of taxpayer money from no bid military contracts. Plenty of taxpayer dollars to buy a basketball franchise to entertain themselves while they frack North Dakota.

    In a few short years, will an empty stadium will sit down in SODO, up for auction like the Silverdome?

    Anybody have 500k for a stadium with ticket booths, plush suites, a scoreboard and a parking lot?

    If the people of Seattle are going to be taxed to build a stadium, should the city of Seattle should own the stadium, the team and the franchise?

    If this were true before Howard Schultz investor group sold to big oil, the Sonics would still be playing at Key Arena.

    Kevin Durant would be thrilling our fans instead of the folks in OKC.

    Pro sports is essentially a gambling opportunity.

    Would you bet on the SuperKings staying in Seattle more than 10 years? 5 years?

    Is this a lousy bet for the taxpaying citizens of Seattle and a great bet for the investor group? You bet.

  • Mr Earl

    My error below. The city of seattle taxpayers share is 200 million dollars.

    • art thiel

      Quite the essay, Earl, albeit a bit random.

      The fact that the privates in this deal are taking a lot of early risk in this project and aren’t asking for public participation until after a team is acquired is a significant improvement over any sports building deal undertaken in Seattle’s modern history. But if you’re among those who believe that not a dime of public money should be at risk, I understand your point. I hope you made the same point regarding the civic contribution to McCaw Hall, Benaroya Hall, the Pacific Place garage and numerous other projects that benefit some segments of the public, although I would guess not you.

      It is too bad that 100 percent of your tax dollars don’t benefit you 100 percent of the time, and that private enterprise sometimes profit from public investment. But the next time you take a flight from Sea-Tac, operated by the Port of Seattle using some of your tax dollars, that benefit private airlines and related private businesses, you might think about how long it would take you to get where you’re going without an airport.

      You could take Amtrak . . . .oh wait, that’s a public subsidy too.