New arena petition could put Seattle back in position for NBA, NHL teams

Updated:

New rendering via sonicsarena.com

A new effort could put Seattle back in position to work with the NBA and NHL to acquire teams for the Emerald City. 

Hansen Arena Partners refiled a petition to Seattle Department of Transportation to vacate a portion of Occidental Avenue South to allow construction of SoDo Arena. 

If the petition is approved by the city council, the group can work with the NHL and NBA for a Seattle team. 

>> Related: Sonics 1979 NBA championship game photos

The street vacation was a major hiccup in May last year, when the city council voted 5-4 to reject the vacation proposal.

City councilmembers who voted against vacating part of Occidental Avenue for the arena cited concerns raised by the port about further clogging traffic and hindering good-paying jobs on the waterfront.

>> Related: Group releases video of "high traffic" day near proposed arena site 

The new proposal has been updated to address those concerns. The group outlined these differences amended in the new petition: 

  • The Arena Will Be 100% Privately Financed - The Arena requires no public financing – it will be 100% privately financed.
  • Traffic Improvements - We are contributing an additional $1.3 million to implement several SDOT projects in the 2016 Freight Master Plan – on top of the benefits recommended by SDOT and Seattle Design Commission.
  • No Team Means No Arena Means No Vacation - There will be no vacation unless and until an NHL or NBA team is acquired and the arena is under construction. If a team isn't acquired and the arena project does not get built in this location, the street will not be vacated.
  • Joint Scheduling Agreement - An agreement has been made with the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders, ensuring no major event will occur at the arena at any time that overlaps with major events at Safeco Field or CenturyLink Field.

>> Related: Read about the stunning city council vote on the arena in May

Hansen and his partners announced last year that they would forgo $200 million in public money to build in the SODO neighborhood.

>> Related: Seattle group offers private financing for SODO arena

Mayor Murray issued the following statement after receiving a letter from the Chris Hansen-led investment group in October.
“The City will review the letter sent by a group of stakeholders, including Chris Hansen, suggesting a revision to the previous SODO arena proposal,” said  Murray. “We share the goal of bringing the NBA and NHL to Seattle. The City will continue to consider all options to build a new, state of the art arena that will accomplish that goal and that can serve the city for years to come.”
In January, the city of Seattle says it will consider a possible complete tear down and rebuild of KeyArena as part of a request for proposals on possible redevelopment to the aging facility.