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City Council committee will consider Seattle arena options

Both SODO and KeyArena are up for discussion

KeyArena on a cloudy day with the Space Needle in the background

Two potential arenas are getting the full attention of the Seattle City Council. A new select committee convenes to discuss two separate projects: The KeyArena redevelopment currently accepting requests for proposals and a SODO arena proposal championed by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen.

Both projects have a goal of attracting an NBA team back to Seattle—a hot and sometimes tense subject since the Seattle Sonics left to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

The Seattle City Council will hold its first meeting of the Select Committee of Civic Arenas later this month, Council member Debora Juarez announced Monday. At least 10 meetings will cover 12 topics related to both the KeyArena and SODO developments.

Juarez and Council Member Bruce Harrell will co-chair the committee, which is made up of the entire City Council. The first meeting on March 27 will give an overview of the two arena projects—but the next meeting on April 17 will dig into proposals for KeyArena. Would-be developers have until April 12 to submit proposals for consideration.

The KeyArena location, championed by Mayor Ed Murray, could either be a renovation or a tear-down—the RFP asks for options for either scenario. A ten member Arena Advisory Panel, which includes former Sonics coach Lenny Wilkens, former hockey pro Todd Humphrey, and Sub Pop’s Megan Jasper, is also giving input on the future of the site.

Historic preservation is among the topics for discussion—this may include KeyArena’s possibly-historic roof.

Hansen’s SODO proposal has been in the works for years, but the latest version was submitted to Council just last month. The group behind the proposal, which includes both Hansen and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, is requesting a vacation on Occidental Avenue South. A previous request for use of the public road was denied last year.