Tuesday, July 31, 2012

County Council Moves Forward with Disputed Arena Plan

The King County, Washington Council on July 30 voted to move ahead with plans for a new sports arena that the Port of Seattle has come out against.

The contract with investor Chris Hansen’s ArenaCo was approved on a 6-3 vote. The plan now goes back to the Seattle City Council for a vote.

Under the arena plan, which was announced May 16, developer Chris Hansen would build a $490 million sports and entertainment complex in SoDo. Under the agreement, the city would buy the land from Hansen for up to $100 million and Hansen and ArenaCo would privately finance the arena’s construction.

But the Port of Seattle maintains that the proposed project, which consists of building an 18,000-seat hockey and basketball arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, in the Industrial District, would conflict with the port’s own Century Agenda, under which it plans to generate 100,000 new jobs for the area within the next 25 years.

Under the agreement, Hansen’s group would provide about $290 million in funding the cost of the arena, while Seattle would commit up to $120 million and King County would contribute up to $80 million.

However, the port has previously cautioned the City of Seattle and King County in a letter that the project “could weaken port/industrial businesses.”