May 07

Sonics Arena Final Environmental Impact Statement

The long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Seattle Arena has been released and it is a greenlight for us to continue moving forward to finish the remaining work needed for the final construction permits. A summary of that document is provided below for your information.

We want to thank the city staff and technical consultants who worked hard to get this document completed and published. It is a major milestone in our journey to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle.

We also wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate that we remain 100% supportive of the NHL returning to Seattle and playing in the Arena — and are completely open to the prospect of that occurring prior to the NBA. In light of recent speculation, we would just like to clarify that we have sought to be as accommodating as possible in our negotiations with potential NHL partners, with our only major requirements being that such a deal does not jeopardize the process or put the City, County, Taxpayers or us in a worse financial position.

Lastly, we also want to extend our sincere thanks to all of you who have stood by us these past several years. Your support has meant so much to us and made a huge impact on the success of this important project. The EIS is clearly a significant milestone, but there is much more work to be done and we greatly appreciate the continued support from all Seattle sports fans.

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

•••

FEIS SUMMARY

The final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Seattle Arena was published today. This 600 + page document, 2 years in the making, is the product of an exhaustive examination of a number of important issues such as construction impacts, transportation and freight impacts and parking and economic impacts.

While a number of potential transportation impacts, and associated mitigation measures to address those impacts were identified, no significant adverse impacts in any other area were identified.

Transportation

No significant unavoidable adverse impacts to the street system, public transportation, bicyclists, and bicycle corridors are expected. The order of magnitude of change in traffic volumes associated with an arena for any event falls within the range of current event experience. There would be an increase in traffic volumes during peak conditions on event days, which would occur more frequently with the addition of an arena. A number of measures have been identified to reduce the level of traffic volumes, including demand reduction, and management of vehicles to orient them to the most appropriate route.

  • The EIS studied various scenarios with multiple events at the different stadium venues, up to a maximum attendance of 72,500, such as a typical Seahawks game. With the addition of the Seattle Arena the number of these large event days would increase.
  • Traffic impacts and travel time effects from an arena only event would generally be the same or slightly less than a Mariners only event.
  • Adding Arena events to days with Mariners and Century Link events (other than Seahawks) will somewhat increase traffic impacts in the area, but not beyond the maximum 72,500 cumulative attendance already seen at Seahawk games.
  • The seasonal overlap between NBA/NHL games and baseball and soccer is limited to a relatively small period in the spring and fall. Throughout the winter NBA/NHL season Arena events would not compete against major events in the existing two stadiums. The smaller number of Seahawk games facilitates joint scheduling during the winter.
  • Various potential mitigation measures were identified to address the transportation impacts, including local intersection improvements, sidewalk improvements for pedestrian traffic, a new pedestrian bridge across the railroad tracks on Holgate and contributions to other mitigation measures identified by the City.
Freight Traffic
  • The full annual delay costs to Port related traffic from additional Arena traffic is estimated to be $115,584. For non-Port truck trips the estimated delay costs are estimated to be $66,141.
Economic Impact
  • The construction related economic activity from direct and re-spending is estimated at $533 million.
  • Arena construction would support approximately 3,570 jobs and $289 million in wage earnings.
  • Gross regional economic activity from Arena operations would generate approximately $313 million in economic activity annually.

Jan 27

​Arena Update

We know things have seemed pretty quiet on the arena front the past several months but there is a lot going on. So as we head into Super Bowl weekend we wanted to take a minute to give you all a quick update.

First, we want to thank Mayor Murray for his leadership. Not only has he asked his staff to look for ways to streamline and speed-up the Environmental Review Process, on his way to Washington DC last week he stopped by the NBA to meet with Commissioner Silver and express the city’s commitment to do its part to bring the NBA back to Seattle. That’s great.

The Commissioner was very positive about Seattle but couldn’t make any commitments at this point, which is really to be expected. While we understand both Sonics fans’ and the Mayor’s disappointment, the most important task at hand remains getting the EIS process wrapped-up so we will be in the position to take advantages of future opportunities that arise, which can happen quickly and without years of advance notice that building an arena requires.

The EIS is moving along at a good pace and we are getting close to having that part of the process finished. There are a few remaining issues that need to be addressed but good progress is being made and we are confident things will be wrapped-up soon. We will do our best to keep you all posted as we move forward.

Our commitment to bring the Sonics back to Seattle is as strong today as it was the first day we announced the arena project – or the day of the great rally we all enjoyed at Occidental Park. The process has been exhaustive and at times frustrating, but in the end we will have completed a big step toward our goal of bringing NBA basketball back to Seattle.

Finally, we want to send a big thanks to all of you. You have stood by us from the beginning and we appreciate that more than you know.

GO HAWKS!

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

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