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Seattle Arena Proposal: Deal Contingent On NBA, NHL Franchises First

On Thursday, the City of Seattle officially introduced the proposal it received for a new arena that would house both an NBA and NHL franchise. Here are the highlights:

  • To confirm what was commonly known, the new arena would be located in the SoDo district near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, and would be suitable for NBA, NHL and concert events.
  • The proposal is contingent on an NBA franchise and an NHL franchise committing to move to Seattle or be created in Seattle in order for construction of the proposed arena to begin. Both franchises must also agree to 30-year, long-term deals to prevent one leaving in the same manner as the Sonics.
  • KeyArena would host both franchises while the new arena is being constructed, which is expected to take roughly two years.
  • The project would be funded by private investors and the public contribution (no more than $200 million) would be paid back in full by arena revenue. In other words, no new taxes!
  • Private investors, who will be investing roughly $300 million, bear project risk and responsibility for cost overruns. Even then, the city and county would own the arena.
  • A committee has been appointed to approve the legitimacy of the proposal. The committee includes former Sonics coach Lenny Wilkens.
  • Lead investor Chris Hansen is responsible for negotiating with the NBA and NHL over new franchises. The city will have no part in those talks.
  • No one was willing to speculate on any current franchises that could move to Seattle.

We'll have more on this story as it develops. For all your Seattle sports news, visit SB Nation Seattle.