by Mick McHugh
Proprietor, F.X. McRory’s

The day Felix threw his perfect game this season, I was working in the restaurant as usual. It was a beautiful summer day here in Seattle — those of us born here probably thought it was a little too hot — and the restaurant was packed before and after the game. It wasn’t just my restaurant, however. Had you walked through Pioneer Square either before or after the game all of the bars and restaurants in the Square were full.

It is days like these which allow us to continue in business. Come the end of the baseball season and the setting in of the weather and it will be pretty darn quiet in our neck of the woods. Football allows for eight more big days of regular season home games which again fill us up, and we certainly love our Seahawks fans, but those game days are twice a month, leaving a lot of quiet days around the restaurant. My neighbors in Pioneer Square experience the same reality every year and as we’ve seen over the 35 years we have been in business, plenty of establishments don’t make it through what I have come to call “the dark months.”

The new arena has the potential to change all of this and make a difference in the lives of not only the business owners in the area who will benefit, but the staff we will be able to keep on during those quiet times and the additional people we will have to hire as well. It also benefits the city and state, as each additional dollar that comes through my door means an extra nine and a half cents for them. It is hard to ignore the positive impacts this proposal will have on businesses in the area.

But F.X. McRory’s location isn’t the only reason I support this proposal. First, I was an inaugural season ticket holder and kept those seats until the team left. I am a fan and look forward to going to games again – those are some great memories that I and my family have and I am excited to make new ones. Second, I think this is a helluva deal on the table for the city. This is the third time I’ve stood behind and supported a stadium proposal in the neighborhood and, quite frankly, this is easily the best deal we — well, really any city in the country has — ever seen. There’s no new taxes, a string of taxpayer safeguards a mile long, and the commitment of private investment of nearly $1 billion. That is a staggering investment in our community that cannot be overlooked, especially in this economy!

Finally, I am proud to say that I know Chris, I know the man he is and the family he came from and I can tell you he will be a great partner with the city, as team owner and an active member of this community. I know that his commitment to this area is real — that his vision for the team is one that is highly knitted into our city and region. He is exactly the kind of person we want as an owner of a community asset.

Let’s build this thing! Bring back the Sonics and also let’s rejuvenate the great hockey legacy we once had here!

— Mick McHugh