Frank Hughes of the News Tribune may have broken the story first, but Gary Washburn of the PI breaks it right. This morning his article features actual quotes from Sabey. Good for Gary tracking down the players involved in the story.
Obviously Sabey's comments indicate that he has made no play for ownership. My take on things is that he hasn't "made an offer" on the team because it is too early in the game. It is known that he wants to buy. I've heard different things from different sources, one saying that an actual offer to purchase is on the table, the other saying that he made a detailed presentation of the site including the arena and left it open ended.
Notable to me is the vision that Sabey conveys in just a few brief sentences.
Sabey said he has no interest in owning the Sonics, except as a small minority partner, but does have a vision for a complex that would hold local, regional and national events.
"If basketball could fit in the mix, I am all for it. But basketball can't be the lead," Sabey, a former University of Washington football player, told the Seattle P-I on Sunday.
"After a very preliminary review, the site would work physically for a new large regional convention center," Sabey wrote in an e-mail. "It's in the center of the population base of the region, great freeway access and next to the new light rail and Sounder rail system. It's a great place for a lot of redevelopment options."
Sabey, a lifelong Seattle resident, said his vision includes investments by the region's largest companies such as The Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp. The building would house corporate functions as well as events featuring the region's growing health care industry.
"I think the only way a major new convention center could be feasible would be to support a future need," Sabey said. "For example, the regional health education, care and research community (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UW, biotechnology, hospital community) could hold a global annual meeting that would help promote Seattle as the center of world health innovation.
"We could also hold an annual convention on global warming. Seattle's location should help it become the leader in bringing together people worldwide to discuss important issues."
I'll just say flat out that Sabey does a better job marketing this thing in 2 sentences than Bennett did in 10 months. This is the type of spokesperson this project needs and I hope that he gets more involved. It would be a shot in the arm that is desperately needed.
Furthermore Washburn mentiones the Muckleshoots who are and have been players in this whole mess. The tribes definately intend to make a play for ownership should it come available. They have been in the picture for a long, long time.
Behind door number 3 I would put the city of Bellevue who continue to feel that their city is a preferable option to Renton. Word has it that Bellevue city planners have put a large amount of effort to bring Bellevue back into the picture. They have lined up some local financial participants, and depending on who you talk to have a piece of land complete with drawings and initial development concepts to go with it.
One day before the lottery so the question of the day is this: How much does the GENERAL public get re-energized if we land a top 2 pick?