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The latest news about the NBA's possible return to Seattle.

April 16, 2013 at 12:53 PM

City reaches deal for Sonics return to KeyArena

Chris Hansen and the city have agreed on a deal that — if the Sonics return to Seattle — will guarantee rent and city jobs at KeyArena while a new arena is build in Sodo.

The agreement guarantees that all current city employees at the arena keep their jobs with the same salaries and benefits when ArenaCo takes over operation of KeyArena in July, according to a news release from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

“This agreement increases revenue to the City from KeyArena, realizes a great private investment in a Seattle landmark and will add to the vibrancy of the Seattle Center by helping bring the Sonics home,” McGinn said in a statement.

The agreement with ArenaCo will guarantee the city at least $2 million in use fees annually, according to the release, with additional income based on ticket sales and whether a hockey team also plays there.

Of the improvements Hansen makes to the arena, at least $3 million worth must remain behind when the team leaves. The could include upgrades in seating, technical and security systems and improvements to locker rooms and the concourse.

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