Seattle City Council backs deal to build NBA arena

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SEATTLE - Three Seattle City Councilmembers have announced their support for the plan for a SoDo arena backed by investor Chris Hansen.

 

Councilmembers Sally Clark, Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien on Tuesday said they've agreed on changes to the original memorandum of understanding with Hansen that would address transportation concerns in the area around the proposed arena.

 

The City Council wanted investor Chris Hansen to address concerns about traffic congestion raised by the Port of Seattle and businesses in the area south of downtown. The agreement announced by council members Tuesday creates a $40 million transportation infrastructure fund.

 

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told KIRO 7 Monday night that a majority of the City Council is ready to move ahead with the plan to build the  NBA and NHL arena just south of Safeco Field.

 

In an interview on KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Eleven at 11, McGinn said the council is prepared to move ahead with the Memorandum of Understanding with Hansen.

 

Hansen's public relations representatives in Seattle said Monday night they had not heard any sort of deal had been reached. 

 

The mayor released a statement saying, "I welcome the news that the City Council has decided to support bringing basketball back to Seattle. (King County) Executive Constantine and I negotiated a proposal with Chris Hansen, an Arena Review Panel vetted it and the County Council approved it. The City Council was the last piece of the puzzle. We haven't gotten a team yet, but Sonics fans have a reason to smile today."

 

A person who has been close to Hansen's arena effort, Brian Robinson, said he's talked to Hansen and that Hansen and the city have addressed earlier concerns and have an agreement.

 

McGinn said in the phone interview that the deal puts the city "in a position to add thousands of new jobs, and bring the Sonics back to Seattle."

 

The King County Council previously approved the plan that calls for $200 million in public money. 

 

Hansen has already acquired land for an arena near the stadiums for the NFL's Seahawks and MLB's Mariners.     

 

Seattle has been without an NBA team since new owners moved the Sonics to Oklahoma in 2008.