Seattle, county sign off on NBA arena; environmental review, lawsuits, team search next

The Seattle city council and King County council finally gave final approval to Chris Hansen’s $490 million SoDo arena plan yesterday, meaning that Hansen can move ahead with—

Now, a state-mandated environmental review will analyze an arena’s effect on the Sodo neighborhood, the Port of Seattle, and the surrounding industrial lands, plus will look at at least one alternative site for a new venue. Those studies are expected to take about a year.

After the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) study is completed, the city and county councils will have the option to move ahead with the Sodo arena or kill the project in its tracks.

Okay, but other than that formality, it’s cleared its last legal hurdle—

Longshoremen who load and unload cargo on the Seattle waterfront plan to sue the city and county over a proposal to build a new sports arena near Port of Seattle shipping terminals.

Okay, okay. Either of these could potentially delay the project, but given that construction isn’t going to begin until Hansen has an agreement with an NBA team to locate in Seattle, it’s not like there’s any real hurry to get shovels in the ground. The big question remains whether Hansen can find a team at a price he can afford, and everything has remained quiet on that front, in public at least. Unless you count this guy in a t-shirt drinking a Diet Coke saying that if any team wanted to move to Seattle, “I can’t imagine any owner standing in the way of that.”

4 comments on “Seattle, county sign off on NBA arena; environmental review, lawsuits, team search next

  1. Initiatives, referendums, charter amendments, I-91 lawsuits, EIS lawsuits, process lawsuits, sundry lawsuits, the 2013 Seattle election; any one of these could stop the proposed arena.

  2. Yes, it’s true, there are various and sundry reasons this project can come to a halt. Don’t hold your breath, though. As soon as Hansen announces he has an agreement in principle to buy a team, you’ll find that various and sundry list gets resolved very quickly.

    I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I will say it’s biased. Buying a team really has no effect on an environmental impact report, but in this case, you’ll find it will. On second thought, I guess introducing bias into the process could be a negative thing.

    I still don’t think Hansen would be buying parcel after parcel without feeling great about his chances. He has $53M invested so far. Even if your name is Steve Ballmer, $53M is still a lot of money.

    I have a cynical view about the Longshoremen’s lawsuit. They’ll settle out of court. Just watch. The announcement of a team will cause a lot of individuals in that union to oppose the suit. More bias and influence.

    This is going to happen faster than you’re thinking, Neil.

  3. Hansen’s Seattle plan is going to become the NBA’s threat for the next 5 years.

    What if the deal outlined in the MOU is actually too generous to work with the NBA’s business model and isn’t designed to come to fruition? The owners will use it as leverage in every single negotiation (I can just see Clay’s meeting with the relocation committees now – those boys back home in Seattle sure learned their lesson… boy are they hungry for a team, it could be your team “Owner who needs more money from city X”).

  4. I am still not cynical enough to think that all judges could be impacted in their rulings by something like Hansen buying an NBA team. Sundry lawsuits are not minor lawsuits, the term was meant to mean lawsuits that I did not specifically identify. The data acquired in a good faith environmental, and economic review, of the Seattle proposal will engender lawsuits of different types. The question now is which crony the Mayor, and Hansen, will attempt to have do the review.