The Metropolitan King County Council reviewed the city’s revised proposal for a new sports arena in Seattle this morning and is likely to vote on the deal this month.
Meeting as the budget committee, eight council members heard staff analysts describe the city changes, which were generally well-received, and asked questions. Bob Ferguson was the only absent council member.
Joe McDermott, chair of the budget committee, said Oct. 15 would be the earliest the full council would vote on the proposal to build a $490 million arena in Sodo for an NBA team, and possibly an NHL team.
The full council voted 6-3 to approve the deal in July. Two of the members who dissented then have said the city revisions have improved the proposal. Larry Phillips said the changes allayed most of his concerns. Pete von Reichbauer said he was optimistic more council members would vote for this version, which includes an independent, third-party review of the ownership group’s finances, principal investors and business plan.
At this morning’s meeting, council members raised three concerns. McDermott wants transportation improvements in Sodo to include pedestrian access, particularly to the light rail stations. Julia Patterson wants to make sure the deal does not put arena-related transportation improvements ahead of those that have long been waiting in line when it comes to the city or county seeking federal or state funds. And several council members wanted to know if alternative sites outside Seattle would be studied as part of the project’s environmental review. A staff lawyer said that is still to be determined.