Seattle arena bill really most sincerely dead

I’ve given short shrift here to the slowly simmering campaign to allocate tax money to a renovation of Seattle’s KeyArena, and this is why:

A bill to help pay for an expansion of KeyArena was declared “dead” by its chief sponsor Wednesday, but a top aide to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels vowed to keep trying to revive the proposal in the waning days of the legislative session.

The proposal, Substitute Senate Bill 6116, passed the Senate Ways & Means committee over the weekend and had appeared poised for a vote of the full Senate Wednesday evening.

But when majority Democrats talked about the bill in caucus, too many objections surfaced, according to Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the bill’s prime sponsor.

“The bill is dead for the session. Really dead,” Murray said.

The bill would have extended the sales-tax surcharge that is paying for the Mariners‘ Safeco Field and the Seahawks‘ Qwest Field and used the proceeds for renovation of both the KeyArena and the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium, as well as arts and affordable housing projects. Clay Bennett, owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly the Seattle Supersonics), would have to pay Seattle $30 million if the state legislature allocated renovation money and no new NBA team arrived within five years — but given that the state would likely have to put up at least $150 million toward the renovation, you can see where some legislators might not consider that a good ROI.

Also of note: The tattered remnants of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer covered this turn of events by running a five-sentence AP story. That whole web-only journalism thing is really going just swimmingly, huh?

3 comments on “Seattle arena bill really most sincerely dead

  1. The Sonics are a thing of the past…so what really is the point of bringing Key up to the 21st century? Follow the buck…concerts….Ladies Basketball..(it’s still in Seattle isn’t it?)..and that’s about it…

    I’m thinking that Key has seen it’s time…and needs to be allowed to pass away…

    Sadly…it would be a shame…WE used to have such good times in there!

    Okahoma City Thunder???? Oh Brother!!!

  2. I agree that any discussion of renovating Key Arena is silly. The team is gone and there’s no sense dumping money into an arena hoping for another one (or even an NHL franchise for that matter).

    Seattle boldly stood firm and refused a public subsidy for this stadium, losing its team in the process. I hope Seattle and the state of Washington can be a trend setter in this regard; in this decade they’ve successfully held off both the NBA and NASCAR in their quests for public money. Good job Seattle and Washington!

  3. A note of dissention, if you don’t mind. The unique aspect of this bill is that half of the money involved ($150 million) comes from private sources, the same private sources which would – theoretically – be owning the team. I’ve always felt that if the teams had an investment in the arena/stadium, it would render relocation talk moot, as a large percentage of the value of the franchise would be tied up with the stadium/arena. In this case, as always, the meat of the sandwich will be the lease, not the arena.

    Of course, this doesn’t address the fact that if this arena were to be completed, it would add to David Stern’s arsenal in his never-ending Ponzi scheme of NBA Blackmail.