It’s been a crazy week for Seattle Sonics fans hopeful that their favorite team would return soon. First, Chris Hansen dropped the news that his group is willing to pay for the entire SoDo arena plan without public funding. Then there were rumblings that a KeyArena remodel was back on the table as well. We end the week with the news that the KeyArena news is official.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced that he will ask for request for proposals in for the redevelopment of KeyArena in January 2017. Murray also said that two companies, AEG and the Oak View Group, have already inquired about potentially taking over that project.
“We continue to listen to options to redevelop KeyArena as part of our revitalization of Seattle Center,” said Murray. “There are many challenges to consider, including how to address traffic in the growing Uptown neighborhood, and any viable plan will include efforts to mitigate these concerns, while also bringing Seattle tremendous cultural and financial benefit. But, I remain committed to building a state-of-the-art arena in Seattle, and this effort means multiple entities could be working to make that a reality. I also remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.”
And so now it looks like we’re going to be locked in a game of chicken. Murray seems to be favoring the KeyArena proposal but will have to find a way to make sure renovations don’t cost taxpayers anything. Because on the other side is a private developer willing to cover the entire cost of his state-of-the-art arena in SoDo. Either deal will ultimately require city council approval.
What do you think makes more sense for the potential return of the Sonics and an NHL franchise? Giving Hansen the go-ahead to build his arena or giving another company the rights to renovate KeyArena?