Seattle, WA – The Seattle City Council has agreed to a deal with investor Christopher Hansen that would build a $490 million multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena that could host NBA and NHL teams.
The city council confirmed the deal on Tuesday at a press conference.
"This agreement marks an exciting day in Seattle as we take a big step towards bringing back the Sonics. This is a great deal for the City and County, basketball fans and non fans alike," said councilman Mike O'Brien. "This deal is not just about an arena or the Sonics, it now includes new funding for transportation improvements in SODO, a new path towards protecting our industrial lands, and new money for Key Arena. I commend Mr. Hansen for his good faith negotiations throughout these past few months."
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.
"The new and improved agreement with Mr. Hansen makes this a sound step for Seattle," said council president Sally J. Clark. "We set out to make sure the general fund is protected, freight mobility is helped and that we have help in charting the future of Key. We achieved these goals."
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.