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How the SoDo Arena Decision & South Lander Street Overpass Are Connected

If Chris Hansen gets the stretch of Occidental Avenue he needs to build his arena, that may end up helping tip the long-gestationg South Lander Overpass into construction

There's never a dull moment down in SoDo. Especially ever since Chris Hansen proposed building a basketball/hockey arena there.

Yesterday we learned that the arena moved one step closer to happening as the Seattle City Council transportation committee voted to recommend that the city sell a stretch of Occidental Avenue to Hansen so that he can build the complex as planned. The move doesn't come without reservations as well as outright condemnation from some, but as KING 5's Chris Daniels reports, the decision could come packed with financial incentives for the city as well as the Port of Seattle.

The vacation legislation includes nine amendments that proponents say amount to a "grand bargain" to appease the critics of the project.

One amendment includes language to hammer out a scheduling agreement between the Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders, and any future NBA/NHL team.

Another amendment would require investor Chris Hansen to provide a "pro-rata monetary payment to the South Lander Street Grade Separation project," which the Port of Seattle has long desired.

Last week, SDOT submitted it's application to the Federal Highway Administration for a grant to help pay for the long-delayed Lander overpass, and by coupling the market-rate sale of the street with something the Port really, really wants, it may be enough to satisfy all parties, or at least keep things moving.

The South Lander Street overpass project, which would cross over four train tracks and make it world easier for freight to move in and out of the neighborhood, has been in the works in some form since the 1990's. The project was supposed to receive funding in 2006 but the mayor moved that money around to other things.

In the meantime, the city has been refilling the chest with influxes of cash from various levies and taxes. With the potential grant as well as a donation from Hansen, that may be enough to make a $140 million version of the project happen, especially if it entices the state to boost it's contribution.

If the grant is approved, the hope is for SDOT to begin construction in 2018 and complete the project by 2019.
· Seattle Arena: Finality looms, yet uncertainty remains [K5]
· City seeks federal grant to get Lander overpass moving [ST]
· Seattle City Council Committee Favors Sodo Arena Street Sale [CS]