Let the bubbly flow at Seattle Times HQ. The Seattle City Council has rejected the vacation of a stretch of Occidental Avnue S to Chris Hansen for his SoDo Arena project.
The No vote doesn't kill the arena but it means that plans to move forward will have to take on a new shape and try to find a way to convince at least one city councilperson to change their mind.
Council President Bruce Harrell and councilmembers Tim Burgess, Rob Johnson, and Mike O’ Brien all votes yes for the street vacation while councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Lorena Gonzalez, Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, and Kshama Sawant voted against it.
For some of the dissenters, the issue was what Chris Hansen would be able to do moving forward even if he didn't have an NBA franchise in tow.
Bagshaw and Herbold argued that giving Hansen the street vacation — which is valid for up to five years — would have prompted him to seek an extension of his memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city and county once the November 2017 deadline rolls around.
The NBA or NHL won't even think about Hansen's project until it's "shovel-ready" so that puts his plans in a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario while local concerns over cost, traffic, tax dollars remain top of mind. Some also wonder if a better investor or someone willing to invest in Keyarena would make a better option.
Multiple parties have visited the stretch of Occidental Avenue in question for long periods of time and found that it's anything but "vital" but this vote was likely more about principle than practicality.
· Seattle Arena: Council rejects vacating Occidental Avenue 5-4 [K5]
· Seattle City Council kills sale of street for Sodo arena [ST]
· "Vital" Occidental Avenue Stretch Not Actually All That Vital [CS]
· The Seattle Times Really Does Not Like Chris Hansen's SoDo Arena Plan [CS]