Arena proposal

Today is expected to be a significant day in the proposal for a new arena in Seattle to bring back an NBA team and host an NHL team.

The Seattle and King County councils are expected to give final approval to the plan to build the $490 million arena with $200 million in public help.

But the Longshore Union called a news conference to announce a lawsuit opposing developer Chris Hansen's preferred location in the area south of downtown Seattle, near the Mariners and Seahawks stadiums.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The King County Council approved an agreement with the investors who want to build an NBA arena in the SoDo district of Seattle. The council voted 6-3 to ratify the "memorandum of understanding" and "interlocal agreement," documents which define the terms of the arena deal.

"There is intrinsic value in this arena," said county councilmember Julia Patterson. She added that she had voted against Seattle's other sports arenas in the past, when she was in the Washington State Legislature, but voted yes on this deal.

In opposition, councilman Pete von Reichbauer said transportation issues had not been resolved. 

"If you build it, they will come – they can't come if they're stuck in traffic," he said.

More questions are being asked about the proposal for a new arena in Seattle to lure back the NBA. A public hearing on the deal takes place Thursday evening and Seattle’s City Hall is expected to be packed with people giving testimony for and against it.

David J. Phillip / AP Images

If the backers of a plan to build a new sports arena in Seattle's SoDo area are successful, they'll be looking to attract both a professional hockey club and a professional basketball team as marquis tenants.

Seattle and King County lawmakers are poring over the proposal's details. In the coming weeks they'll cast votes on the arena plan, its call for up to $200 million in public bonds (to be paired with $300 million in private funds), a plan championed by investor Chris Hansen.

Lindsay Lowe / KPLU

The level of intensity around the proposal to build a new NBA arena in Seattle is growing by the minute.

The group of investors – which we learned yesterday includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family – drew hundreds to a "bring back our Sonics" rally in Pioneer Square today. It was a well-timed event to put pressure on the Seattle City Council and King County Council to back the deal.

“This is a very carefully orchestrated PR campaign," says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. "At the same time, the old Sonics – the Thunder – are in the NBA Finals this week. The angst could not be more intense in Seattle among sports fans who care about this because their 41-year passion is being thrown back in their face, mocked by the Thunder’s presence in the league’s championship series.”

KPLU

A study has found that Seattle's SoDo neighborhood can handle the traffic that may come from building a third sports arena in the area.

The study was released Wednesday by the City of Seattle and paid for by Chris Hansen, the developer who wants to build an 18,000-seat facility that could house an NBA and an NHL franchise near where the Mariners and Seahawks play.

Jonathan Klapel / KPLU

If an NBA team comes to Seattle, what guarantees are there that it won’t leave again? That’s one of the questions King County Council members are asking.

As a proposal for a privately built basketball and hockey arena works its way through the political process, both Seattle City Council and King County Councils are mulling it over.