SoDo Arena group offers to redevelop Seattle's KeyArena into entertainment venue

SEATTLE — Chris Hansen and his group of investors are offering to revamp KeyArena after building the SoDo Arena.

"We believe our creative, privately financed proposal offers an ideal solution that ensures the continued vibrancy of the Seattle Center, while minimizing the negative impacts on the surrounding residents, businesses, and stakeholders," the group wrote on its website.

The proposal includes a 6,200-seat indoor concert venue on one side and 3,000-seat outdoor amphitheater. They would also raise the floor and add over 500 permanent parking stalls for events. The Sonics Group believes it would help reduce traffic and transportation impacts in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood.

“We felt compelled to offer an alternative solution that we believe better meets the needs of the City, the Seattle Center, the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood and prospective professional sports’ tenants.”

Under this proposal, the result would be three arenas — The SoDo Sports Arena, The Seattle Center Concert Venue, and The Seattle Center Amphitheater — which the Sonics Group believes would be a better option than a “single, site-challenged sports venue at KeyArena.”

Hansen’s group promised to privately finance “all construction costs, ongoing capital improvement costs, and cost overruns.”

They say there should be a temporary waiver of admissions taxes on the arena if the NBA or NHL plays at the new KeyArena while the SoDo Arena is under construction.

Arena investor Wally Walker told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson said their goal is to keep talking about the issue and explaining the benefits of their plan to taxpayers. He believes this plan will be hard for local politicians to ignore.

“If they’re really open minded and don’t have another agenda other than what’s best for the city, the taxpayers and for attracting the NBA and NHL, and now for the music business and industry as well,” he said.

Another investor, Russell Wilson, is thrilled about the latest in what’s becoming a battle to bring back the NBA.

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