Oh, Chris Hansen. You've tried so hard (and spent so much money) trying to bring back the Seattle Sonics (and possibly an NHL franchise). Between getting spurned by the NBA, the battle brewing with the Port of Seattle and competing arena plans, his dreams have been in serious doubt for a whole now. And that was before President Obama proposed ending tax exemptions on bonds for cities to use towards sports venues, which he included in his 2017 budget proposal.
Hansen's MOU agreement with the city includes as much as $200 million in municipal bond funding for his arena. While it's unclear how much of that is tax-exempt, it's pretty likely that a at least a big chunk of that is. Of course, the shame of the situation is that the change is intended to stop greedy owners from pulling teams from cities and sticking them with the bill. Meanwhile, Hansen is actually trying to return a team to Seattle, using what's by all accounts a very fair deal to the city, but may also get stung.
Plus, as Geoff Baker in the Seattle Times notes, this could just another reason the city may want to consider re-investing in Keyarena at a lower cost than spending more to develop Hansen's plan. Though to be fair, the Seattle Times has been fairly anti-SoDo Arena from the get-go, so take their opinion with a grain of salt.
In the meantime, a public hearing on March 15 to discuss plans for the city to give up a portion of Occidental Avenue South to the SoDo Arena proposal will be the next battle ground for all of this.
· Chris Hansen's Sodo arena plan could face battle from Obama proposal [ST]
· Group Wants to Renovate KeyArena if Seattle's Interested [CS]
· Chris Hansen Apparently Buying Entire SoDo Neighborhood [CS]
· Today In SoDo Arena Developments: What Is The Seattle Times Talking About? [CS]
· All SoDo Arena coverage [CS]