Feb 08

To the Sonics Faithful

We're excited to announce that we just submitted a new petition to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) requesting the vacation of a portion of Occidental Avenue South to allow construction of the SoDo Arena.  

If approved by the City Council, this conditional street vacation will finally put us in position to work with the NBA and NHL to acquire teams for Seattle.

This is the piece of Occidental Avenue S. we’re asking the city to vacate.

Since we last submitted a street vacation petition, we have reworked our proposal to address the concerns raised by Seattle City Council members.

This new petition incorporates all amendments to the previous petition considered by the City Council, and builds on it with several important differences: 

  • The Arena Will Be 100% Privately Financed - The Arena requires no public financing – it will be 100% privately financed.
  • Traffic Improvements - We are contributing an additional $1.3 million to implement several SDOT projects in the 2016 Freight Master Plan – on top of the benefits recommended by SDOT and Seattle Design Commission.
  • No Team Means No Arena Means No Vacation - There will be no vacation unless and until an NHL or NBA team is acquired and the arena is under construction. If a team isn't acquired and the arena project does not get built in this location, the street will not be vacated.
  • Joint Scheduling Agreement - An agreement has been made with the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders, ensuring no major event will occur at the arena at any time that overlaps with major events at Safeco Field or CenturyLink Field.

Also, since the City Council considered the previous street vacation petition last year the long-stalled Lander Overpass project is close to being fully funded, with the SoDo Arena making a contribution to that important freight mobility project.  

In addition, the Community Benefit Agreement and Labor Peace Agreement remain in place.

Recent rendering of the arena — picture a sea of green and gold as tip-off approaches.

All told, the new benefit package totals almost $27 million, not including the mitigation that will be required by the Master Use Permit approval or the cost of purchasing the section of Occidental.  

The years-long Environmental Impact Statement for the arena proved that this little-used section of Occidental will have minimal effect on the flow of traffic through the stadium district. Just like the vacation of Occidental that was approved for Safeco Field two blocks north of the Arena site, the public benefits of the new venue will far outweigh the minimal effect.

As we’ve said before, approving the street vacation will not interfere with the City’s RFP process for Key Arena. Any Key Arena renovation plan will take 5-7 years to complete. Our plan, on the other hand, can be ready to go quickly with the street vacation. This puts the city in the best position to take advantage of any franchise opportunities.

At the end of the day, our #1 goal is bringing the NBA and NHL back to Seattle, and we look forward to working with the Mayor and the City Council as they consider the revised petition. 

Let's Bring 'Em Back!

— Chris Hansen, Wally Walker, Erik Nordstrom, Pete Nordstrom, Russell Wilson 

Dec 16

We’re Bringing ‘em Back

​Recently, questions have been raised about the chances of bringing an NBA or NHL franchise back to Seattle. We are doing everything we can to bring both leagues here. It starts with a world-class arena, and we want to remind our supporters of all the work that has been done to date to do just that. 

It has been five years since we began the process to bring the Sonics back to Seattle. Since that time, we have invested more than $100 million to acquire land in the city’s stadium district, paid for a lengthy environmental review, traffic and parking studies, economic impact studies, and a Key Arena study. 

We worked with both the Seattle Arena Review Panel and King County Expert Review Panel to answer questions and refine our proposal. We have worked with both the Seattle City Council and the King County Council through numerous hearings, a three-year Seattle Downtown Design Review process, and ten meetings of the Seattle Design Review Board that resulted in unanimous recommended approval of the street vacation. In addition, the Seattle Department of Transportation street vacation review process recommended approval of our proposal. More recently we have negotiated cooperative scheduling agreements with the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders. 

Our committed local ownership group bid on the only NBA franchise to come up for sale since this process started. That bid included a $30 million non-refundable deposit. We have also had many discussions with potential NHL ownership groups and, most recently, agreed to build the arena with private resources.  

The record clearly demonstrates our steadfast determination to bring basketball and hockey back to Seattle. That has been the case since we started this project in 2011 and remains the case today. Our ownership group will always put our individual aspirations second to securing an NBA franchise for our great city.

We appreciate the Mayor’s commitment to returning the NBA and NHL to Seattle, and look forward to continuing our work with him and the City Council to make that happen.

— Chris Hansen, Wally Walker, Russell Wilson, Erik Nordstrom, and Pete Nordstrom

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