While Seattle fumbles around with the MOU and environmental review of Chris Hansen's SoDo arena, another group has emerged as the new frontrunner to land Seattle's eventual NHL franchise. Per ESPN, RLB Holdings Sports and Entertainment, which is spearheaded by oil trader Ray Bartoszek, has filed a code interpretation request with Tukwila, noting it's intention to build a multipurpose arena in the TOD District. The specific site is described as being north of the Sounder station and east of West Valley Highway off of I-405 Exit 1 (shown above).
As King5's Chris Daniels notes, the timing of this announcement is not happenstance:
The timing of #TukwilaArena launch is not coincidental... Backers know #SeattleArena in final stages with FEIS due May 7th:— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) April 27, 2015
According to ESPN, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Bartoszek have been in contact for a while and have met multiple times. MulvannyG2 Architecture CEO Jerry Lee, NBA legend Bill Russell and former Seattle Sonics captain Fred Brown are also a part of RLB Holdings. The goal stands to open a privately-funded arena by Fall 2017, though there are plenty of hoops to be jumped through before that happens. Just ask Chris Hansen.
· Ray Bartoszek plans Seattle-area arena, hopes to lure NHL team [ESPN]
· ESPN: Group plans NHL arena in Tukwila [DJC]
· Chris Daniels [Twitter]
· Chris Hansen's Arena Might Not Get Approved Until 2016 [CS]
· All Seattle NHL coverage here [CS]