Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine and hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen this morning announced to media and cheering Sonics fans details of a Memorandum of Understanding they will send to the city and county councils to finance a new, $490 million sports arena in Sodo.
“It’s time to put the ball in play,” said Constantine, urging councils to quickly take up the proposal. Hansen later said he was not urging the councils to reach a decision more quickly than they are comfortable with.
The public investment — capped at $200 million in bonds, to be repaid through arena taxes and revenues — would be limited to $120 million if just an NBA team is secured first. The remainder would be added once an NHL team signs on, officials said.
Once both teams are secured, the city’s investment would be $120 million, and the county’s $80 million. Until an NHL team signs on, the city’s obligation would be $115 million and the county’s would be $5 million, because the city would receive more of the revenue.
A proposed Interlocal Agreement also was sent to both councils today.
ArenaCo, the investment group led by Hansen, would pay construction costs and overruns. And construction wouldn’t begin until an NBA team was secured with a 30-year non-relocation agreement. Hansen and his yet-to-be-named investors would contribute up to $290 million, and buy an NBA team.
There has been a lot of concern — especially by the Mariners and the Port of Seattle — about the additional traffic a new arena would bring to an already crowded Sodo area. McGinn pledged to work on that issue, and Hansen said an area traffic study he’s paying for likely would be done in the next week or two.
See all the available related documents here.