Next Monday, the Seattle City Council will vote on whether or not to sell a stretch of Occidental Avenue S to Chris Hansen so that he can proceed with plans to build an arena in SoDo for the future home of an NBA basketball team or NHL hockey team. The Council's transportation committee has already given the deal the thumbs up.
The street has become a bit of a chess piece between various groups in city government and local business. It's said to be a bargaining chip in the long-gestating process to find money for the South Lander Street Overpass project that the Port of Seattle really wants.
One of the other sticking points was whether or not the Mariners and Seahawks would approve on the deal and let another pro sports franchise move in on their turf. The big issue? Making sure events don't overlap and cause a traffic or parking nightmare scenario. That issue seems to have been hammered out via a city council-brokered deal between all parties.
The deal, reached Wednesday night, sets a three-hour minimum between the projected end of one game and the start of another on the same day and prohibits arena events that overlap with major CenturyLink and Safeco Field crowds. It also prevents any arena events from starting between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weeknights and requires an NBA team to try to avoid scheduling any games that overlap with Mariners and Sounders contests.
While all of this points to the city council approving the deal, there's already rumblings that the Port of Seattle will follow any approval with an announcement of a lawsuit. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union are also expected to consider legal action over allegations of impropriety during the environmental-impact study.
Meanwhile, The Seattle Times, which hates Chris Hansen and his SoDo Arena with the heat of a thousand suns, has written an editorial against the sale of the street (duh). Their reasoning is that by giving Hansen the deal and letting his arena move forward, it locks out other investors from attempting to do the same from even better financial positions. As for who those investors are....who knows.
· Scheduling deal means ‘yes’ vote more likely to give up street for proposed Sodo arena [ST]
· Don’t be fooled by arena politics: Vote down Occidental vacation [ST]
· Seattle City Council Committee Favors Sodo Arena Street Sale [CS]
· How the SoDo Arena Decision & South Lander Street Overpass Are Connected [CS]
· The Seattle Times Really Does Not Like Chris Hansen's SoDo Arena Plan [CS]