Arena proposal: City Councilmembers’ concerns; County Council approval

FIRST REPORT, 11:26 AM: With the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce board taking a stand against the SODO location proposed for a new Seattle sports arena (as first reported here last week), it’s higher on the radar here – so here’s a new development: Less than 3 hours before the King County Council holds a public hearing on the possible county investment in the plan, the Seattle City Council has announced it’s “in discussions” with would-be arena investor Chris Hansen, and has gone public with a four-page letter to him, signed by 8 councilmembers (all except Bruce Harrell). You can see the letter here; the concerns it outlines include the ones on which the WSCoC and Port of Seattle have focused:

… In particular, transportation issues must be addressed and freight mobility impacts mitigated to protect the city’s vital maritime and industrial job sectors. …

The letter spends even more time on concerns about “ongoing financial exposure” to the city and a “balance of public and private benefits.” But it also makes a point that “it would be unfortunate if the project were to founder now …”

Meantime, in advance of the public hearing and expected County Council vote this afternoon, West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott co-authored an essay explaining why he believes they have “done (their) due diligence”; read it here. (If and when there is a vote, we’ll add that update to this story.)

6:46 PM: The County Council’s vote was yes. Read about it on their site.

17 Replies to "Arena proposal: City Councilmembers' concerns; County Council approval"

  • Brandon July 30, 2012 (11:50 am)

    Hopefully, all issues can be addressed and we can get an arena in SODO. GO SONICS!!!

  • vraxvalhalla July 30, 2012 (1:50 pm)

    NO NO NO! If this is such a great idea, then Mr Hansen can pay for all of it himself and keep the profits. People are asking whether or not we “can” instead of the more important question…”should” we. Why are taxpayers of a city that is still paying down an $80 million dollar bond for an arena that no longer EXISTS even considering bankrolling another venue?

    No more waste. No more bailouts. No more burdening the taxpayers of Seattle with financial RISK while the profits go to a private equity firm. If this is such a financially sound idea, then Mr Hansen can foot the bill…all of it!!

  • chris July 30, 2012 (2:47 pm)

    @vraxvalhalla please read the mou before you comment… Waste ? Bailout? Huh … When this arena happens – which it will, you have more jobs and more tax revenue for the city. How is that a bad thing ?

  • Brandon July 30, 2012 (2:48 pm)

    The answer is yes we should. Your comments are also not on target. The taxpayers are not on the hook for the arena. The bonds would be paid for by users of the arena. There is little risk involved in this deal and bringing a basketball team is an asset to the city.

    The issue that I have with your comments is that arena’s are not built with all private money. They are usually a private/public partnership. This deal is the best deal this city will ever get. Bring back the Sonics, bring back concerts to Seattle and bring money into the city because of it.

  • a July 30, 2012 (5:15 pm)

    vraxvalhalla- People who cry and complain such as yourself ruin it for the rest of us. Even if Hansen offered to pay for the whole arena you still would find something to compain about and cry and cry so that you could try to prevent this from happening. My guess is that in school you were always last picked at the playground. Because of this you hate sports and want to ruin the fun for us that love sports. Keep crying and trying to prevent this from happening. If you are successful in preventing this from happening, us sports fans will come together and do everything in our power to prevent upgrades to the symphony or opera or whatever it is you non sports fans do to have fun. You ruin it for us, we’ll ruin it for you and we can all be miserable together. World class cities have major sports teams. Let’s become a world class city and not a city full of cry babies who try to keep each other from having fun because we don’t have fun the same way as they do.

  • vraxvallhala July 30, 2012 (7:18 pm)

    @chris- More jobs and revenues only come about when the financial projections of the project are realized. Will they be? Do we even know what those projections are? How many venues (Showare?) sit half used in the Seattle area because overly ambitious investors couldn’t get reality to match their concocted numbers for projects that taxpayers are stuck footing the bill for?

  • vraxvallhala July 30, 2012 (7:24 pm)

    @brandon – “The bonds would be paid for by users of the arena.” Who puts up the money for the bonds? Taxpayers?

    If Hansen, the NBA owners– who are all multi-millionaires, by the way– want to build a stadium in Seattle, no one is stopping them. But they want the city to help finance the deal. Why? Why should taxpayers be asked to pony up OUR money for a sports venue and then be charged $100 and $10/beer to go watch the team that WE paid for?

  • DW July 30, 2012 (8:05 pm)

    I suppose it would be better if it was in Bellevue and all the tax revenue went there. (sigh) I feel like Seattle tries to be second class sometimes.

  • Brandon July 31, 2012 (7:36 am)

    @Vraxvalhalla…will your taxes increase because of the issuing of the bonds? No. Also, the MOU states where the money for the Bonds comes from. Please read the MOU before making statements that are not based on fact.

  • visitor July 31, 2012 (1:11 pm)

    measure against jobs lost at the port. Is Seattle willing to trade existing family-wage jobs for a promise of minimum-wage service jobs?

  • Brandon July 31, 2012 (2:13 pm)

    Please provide proof to your comments. we do not know that jobs will be lost. The port is using a traffic study from 2003 that estimated traffic in 2012. That is not sound analysis of the traffic implications. If you think it is, please buy my house for 2003 prices.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident July 31, 2012 (3:16 pm)

    I’ve given up on talking to people like Vrax and “visitor” about this because no matter what the deal presented by Hanson and group, they will scream about “public money” being used, but those types have no compulsion in using public money and land for SAM or McCaw Hall or Benyora Hall or the Sculpture Park.
    Because you know, those venues REALLY bring in 100x more the jobs and tax revenue that a minimum of 81 BOOKED (NBA and NHL home games – regular season) nights bring. Not to mention the concerts, shows, exhibitions, conventions…ect, that could be held there will bring in.
    In 10 games played there I believe (if sold out) you would bring in more people (~18,500 per event) than SAM and Benyora Hall bring ALL year!!!
    The Port stops shipping at 3:30 PM on weeknights and none on the weekend. So PLEASE tell me how the new arena, with games held on weeknights starting at 7:00-7:30 PM interferes with the Port?

  • visitor July 31, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    >>>>>The Port stops shipping at 3:30 PM on weeknights and none on the weekend. So PLEASE tell me how the new arena, with games held on weeknights starting at 7:00-7:30 PM interferes with the Port?

    The port works 24 hours a day every day except Christmas Day, New Years Day, Thanksgiving and July 5.

    IF you don’t know why July 5, please read up on port operations.

    Please know what you are talking about.

    You have no idea about “types like me” and you don’t know what I have a compulsion to do or not do.

    And it’s not compulsion, by the way. It’s compunction.

  • tired of phoney testimonials August 1, 2012 (8:04 am)

    There is public money being used, public credit, via General Obligation Bonds. Property taxes will go up by a small fraction, but that is also public money. Public money will be used to pay for traffic mitigation. The public is expected to come out as an owner of an old facility in 30 years. Yet, the public will have no equity in the team, no revenue from ads or building naming rights, and at this time, have not seen a business plan, nor the entire investor roster.

    The county indemnified itself from I91 liability in the other document, the Inter Local Agreement. Why would they do that?

    Key arena. Public owned venue. Makes money currently. Nuff said.

  • Brandon August 1, 2012 (8:42 am)

    Yes bonds are being used, but they are not being paid back by the public. They are being paid back through tax revenues generated only because the arena is being built. You are not diverting any funding for anything else by opening an arena. The bottom line is, whether or not people want to bring an asset back to the city of Seattle and all that comes with it. Or do we want Bellevue to build an arena and get the Sonics? I personally want that money to come to Seattle. Money from outside the city would be coming in to go see the NBA games. Why be opposed to something that will increase the cities revenue?

  • a August 1, 2012 (1:34 pm)

    Visitor you bring up a good point. The port operates 365 24/7. The port is the reason traffic is and will continue to be bad in SODO. Let’s not try and blame an arena that will seat less people than the Clink and Safeco on making traffic bad in that area. I know how important the port is and how much money it brings the city so I am not saying anything bad about the port. The fact is that we can have the port and it’s financial benefits and we can have the new arena and it’s financial and huge cultural benefits and they can coexist just like the port has coexisted with the other two stadiums both of which seat over twice as many people as the new arena will.

  • george August 3, 2012 (10:29 am)

    If our port is so great, why do so many customers keep moving to Tacoma (before any of the arena talk came up)? The POS is so far behind itself, look at Long Beach CA and Los Angeles. Hundreds of millions of dollars being invested to build a bigger, greater port. What does POS do? The container traffic made $68 million last year, which was about 30% of Port profits. Most of its profits come from Sea-Tac and the improvements/investments they made there. Why is the Port sitting on its hands whining, instead of moving forward?
    And yes, Port traffic does run 24/7. Any time you see cranes with their towers down, they are loading/unloading freight. But I doubt any of them will cry if their work gets pushed to nights and weekends, when OT is prime. Many times, its seems the Longshoremen force ship schedules into OT situations. If the POS really wanted to move forward, they would push technology changes/improvements at the gate. But no, they’d rather milk jobs than be more efficient. They can’t get their arms around being more efficient might lower costs and maybe increase jobs. The POS is doomed into yesteryear until they wake up and move forward.

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