Seattle City Council approves new arena deal

The Seattle City Council has approved a deal to build a $490 million multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena that could host NBA and NHL teams.

Council members voted 6-2 on Monday to approve investor Chris Hansen's plan.

Seattle has been without an NBA franchise since the Sonics left in 2008 after an effort to build a replacement for Key Arena never came to fruition.

"Council staff, lawyers and councilmembers have worked hard to produce an agreement that protects the city, charts the right site review process and secures appropriate public benefits," said council president Sally J. Clark. "Today's vote closes one phase of tasks and begins another, including work on how we plan for a bright future at Seattle Center."

The King County Council already approved the original deal but needs to approve the revised version. It also must pass an environmental review.

Hansen redirected some of the tax revenue generated by the arena to help make road improvements, creating a $40 million SODO Transportation Infrastructure Fund to address longstanding transportation problems in the area.

In addition, the new agreement creates a $7 million Key Arena Fund.

Another key to the agreement includes significant new financial protections for the city and county. Hansen's investor group, ArenaCo, must double the security reserve if its revenue fails to meet expectations. At the end of the 30 year arena use agreement, the city and county can require ArenaCo to purchase the land and facility for $200 million.