BY Art Thiel 12:52PM 04/28/2016

Ahead of vote, teams have deal on Sodo booking

An agreement has been reached on scheduling among the three current pro teams in Sodo and Chris Hansen’s group trying to build an arena in the neighborhood, perhaps paving the way for the Seattle city council to approve Monday Hansen’s request for vacating a portion of Occidental Avenue.

KING5’s Chris Daniels reported that the council will announce Thursday a deal that that resolves concerns by the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders that a council vote would be taken before Hansen had negotiated a schedule for how two or three events on the same day would impact traffic and parking for all.

The breakthrough will be an amendment to the proposal by Hansen that needs five of nine council votes to vacate a part of the street upon which the arena would sit. The vote is the final political step needed to create a master use permit for the arena.

The project cannot begin until Hansen secures an NBA team before November 2017, the expiration of the memorandum of understanding among Hansen, the city and King County that would secure $200 million in bond loans to fund construction.

While the chance to get a team seems increasingly unlikely, Hansen would have no chance without a master-use permit. Even with one, a positive vote from the council will also launch opponents of the arena’s location into legal challenges triggered by council action.

KING5 reported the deal prevents arena events between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and late afternoon events from all parties that would conflict with port traffic. An earlier version of this SPNW story reported incorrectly that the Port of Seattle and the longshore union were involved in the discussion. A port spokesperson said there was no involvement.

Sources involved with the negotiations told KING5  that the Mariners representatives were “very good” and “fantastic” in hammering out the deal.

The Mariners Wednesday announced an ownership transition in which John Stanton would become the Mariners’ controlling director, succeeding retiring Howard Lincoln, whose opposition to the arena proposal was virulent.

In an earlier committee vote on the arena proposal, council members Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Mike O’Brien and Rob Johnson voted for the amendments. Sally Bagshaw voted no.

Council member Lisa Herbold is another expected to vote no. Colleagues Debora Juarez, Lorena Gonzalez and Kshama Sawant have not publicly indicated a choice.


  • Tom G.

    Thank god.

    Hopefully this is enough to secure vote #5.

    (Still think NHL will need to come first at some point though.)

  • Xman

    First Howard Lincoln and his record of futility announce their retirement, then a local guy who tried to stop the Sonics’ departure buys a majority stake in the Mariners, and now this. A very good 24 hours for aggrieved fans of both teams.

    • 1coolguy

      No one bought a majority share in the M’s: The original investor group increased their positions in varying amounts, yet no one has a majority.

      • Playhouse

        Technically correct. None of the 17 members of the majority stakeholder group owns a majority over any of the others. Stanton was chosen as leader and spokesman of the group and will be recognized by MLB as the primary owner. All pending league approval, of course.

      • Xman

        You’re right, I’m wrong. But Stanton is the CEO and will call most of the shots. He has many reasons to atone for the outrage of 2008.

        • art thiel

          Stanton is the decider for this group. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

    • art thiel

      It is s turn, isn’t it?

  • jafabian

    I don’t see the NBA or NHL coming here unless the city overturns the ruling that prevents public funds from going to financing for professional sports venues and I don’t see that happening. The city will balk at participating in the construction of a new arena without a commitment and the NBA/NHL won’t even consider it unless an arena has been built. And even then there’s no guarantee a team will be moved here. IMO, the NBA is wise to Hansen and ignores him now. He needs to bring in a new partner who has some “wow” factor to them and let them be the face of his team. He can still be the mover behind the scenes but the NBA probably needs to hear from a new voice. The Port and the M”s are probably slowly cooperating because they’re realizing the NBA isn’t serious on returning to Seattle.

    • Topcatone

      It was a while ago so I may be wrong, but I thought the public financing chunk was already approved, and would be steadily paid back with interest by concessions and parking? I think you HAVE to build the arena, then they will come. I doubt expansion by either NBA or NHL, but mostly likely a team would move here, e.g. the Phoenix Coyotes, who have struggled for years. In the mean time, it can be a premier concert, event arena, replacing the function of the terrible Tacoma Dome. Or, the Seattle Thunderbirds could play there as well, and Storm. Hansen, despite the Sacramento mess, is bending over backwards for Seattle and seems to be good at reaching agreements with the various parties (except for the selfish port).

      • 1coolguy

        No one can sell bonds or secure bank financing without a revenue stream signed, so no NHL or NBA team(s), no contact therefore no financing. Bonds and loans are not made on good intentions or “what-ifs”.

        • art thiel

          Cool is right.

      • art thiel

        The bond loans are subject to legal challenge, but the structure of the public share is in place in the MOU.

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    • art thiel

      Hansen says his deal satisfies I-91, opponents say otherwise.

      What the NBA wanted was Ballmer. And they got him. Hansen needs an NHL partner, but no one wants his arena deal.

  • Don Martin

    Art, What am I missing…
    Could we redo the key arena for 285M, for NHL only?
    Does the NHL feel its a doable venue? Do we have an invester/owner willing?
    After this May thing with SoDo goes nowhere, I’d be happy now with the NHL, while we passively snub the NBA, till they step up.

    • art thiel

      The $285M isn’t realistic, and doesn’t take into account traffic/parking and other Center impacts. The only solution at the Key is a teardown or a re-purposing.

      • 1coolguy

        Best thing the Center can do with the Key, once SODO is built, is sell it and the land surrounding it to a developer. The Space Needle is on private land and can be used as precedent, though that land was private from the beginning.