The morning after hearing that the NBA has rejected Chris Hansen’s offer to buy the Sacramento Kings, I’m listening to the song “Our Day Will Come.” You can listen along on SoundCloud below.
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Like I said before in my column last week, “Sonics fans, it’s time to give your heart a break,” I believe that the Sonics are coming back to Seattle, eventually. I want an NBA team back in the city.
But I’m relieved this specific bid didn’t work out because Sodo is the wrong place to put an arena. The rightful home of the Sonics isn’t just Seattle, it’s Seattle Center. To take a future NBA franchise away from the Center is removing the Center’s anchor tenant.
A deal could be worked out for a future NBA team to play at an arena built on the site of the Center’s Memorial Stadium, which Seattle Schools wants to sell to the city. That would allow a team to play at KeyArena while a new stadium is built.
But it’s on the city to come up with a deal that would make it more attractive for Hansen’s investment group to build an arena at the Center instead of Sodo, where Hansen says construction costs are higher. I also said in the column that I would support public financing of an arena at Memorial Stadium because it would benefit Seattle Center, a public asset. (Note: I speak only for myself here, and not the editorial board.)
What I didn’t mention in my earlier column is that I cannot stomach the gentrification of Sodo. I don’t believe that Chris Hansen wants to gentrify Sodo, which he said in an Opinion Northwest Q&A last week, “Chris Hansen on Sonics arena: ‘Our vision would not look or feel anything like L.A. Live.’ “ But there are other real estate interests who do want to turn Sodo into Belltown.More