On Wednesday afternoon, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine gave details of the much-whispered about proposal for a new basketball arena, south of Safeco Field.
Constantine called this plan the “first real path” to bringing the Sonics, who were relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, back to Seattle.
“I’m very interested in bringing the NBA back to Seattle, to King County, and to Washington state,” said Constantine.
The arena proposal would also make it possible for Seattle to obtain an NHL team.
“Construction of this arena would create thousands of good-paying construction jobs,” said Constantine.
The mayor and executive also suggested that a “new NBA team would bring visitors who spend thousands of dollars to boost our regional economy.”
The $500 million proposal, which will be financed mainly by a private investment group led by San Francisco hedge fund manager and Seattle native, Chris Hansen, includes a maximum of $200 million in city and county financing, to be repaid through rent payments.
“We will not be committing any new taxes, nor will we be digging into our general fund,” said McGinn. “We will not be using public money.”
Although McGinn and Constantine declined to comment on whether or not they believed the new arena would become a reality, they called the proposal “worthy of serious consideration” and expressed their desire to “move quickly and deliberately.”
Hansen is also expected to invest money to develop new ways to use Key Arena, the Sonics' old home.