Geoff Baker reports that a coalition of maritime interests will deliver a signed letter to the City Council on Monday, asking for a delay in the final decision of whether to build Chris Hansen's proposed arena in SoDo.
Of course they will, because this project hasn't been endlessly debated or sufficiently delayed yet.
A coalition of six groups with common maritime interests, including the Port of Seattle, have signed a letter asking Seattle City Council and the city's transportation department to postpone deciding whether to hand over a street to Hansen to accommodate his arena's blueprint. The letter, to be delivered Monday, says all "final transaction documents" for the arena must first be resolved before any vote on the street vacation is held later this year or early next.
Baker goes on to say that the group wants a potential $285 million renovation to Key Arena to get a serious look-see before any final blessing of the SoDo project is issued.
Does the Gang of Six need to be reminded that this was done as part of the FEIS process? Does it need to be reminded that the study, which no one can claim was done in a hurry, revealed no issues that can't be mitigated in SoDo?
No, they don't. They are fully aware.
Sure, it's easy to roll eyes at that one and suggest the Port and its allies are deploying desperate last-ditch tactics. It does feel like this arena thing — especially the KeyArena question — has already been debated, resolved and put to bed numerous times. Only it hasn't been. There is still a ton we don't know.
I can attest to the rolling of the eyes. Mine are rolling as I write this, and will be again tomorrow when the letter is delivered. Is there really a ton we still don't know, though? I'm sure there are some things unknown about Key Arena, but I'm guessing the sum tonnage couldn't stop a poodle in its tracks.
Here's one thing we do know.
Somebody still has to pay the $285 million, which far exceeds the $120 million in bond funding the city offered Hansen's project. Also, Lower Queen Anne traffic is chaotic and adding teams at Key Arena won't help matters.
So who will this somebody be? We know it won't be Chris Hansen. He's made that clear on numerous occasions. We know it won't be the City of Seattle or the County of King. Can anyone say otherwise with a straight face? It won't be Victor Coleman, who is known to prefer SoDo and has yet to be willing to commit ANY dollars to achieve an NHL-first scenario. It won't be Ray Bartoszek, Thomas Tull, or any of the Bellevue guys. It, sure as Shinola, won't be the Port of Seattle or any of the other signers of this letter.
With a SoDo FEIS in hand, and with that somebody being nobody, is there anything else about the Key Arena option we need to know?
This isn't an attempt by the maritime interests to help foster an arena solution. This is them trying once more to deflect the blame for their own business failures to an arena that wasn't even a twinkle in Hansen's eye when they happened. This is an attempt to bully the City Council into going back on its word. This is an attempt to delay, delay, and delay some more in hopes that Hansen will finally give up and take his money back to the Bay Area.
This is the Port being the Port. This organization has strained Seattle's credulity at every opportunity since Chris Hansen became a public figure. Does any credulity remain? Not in me. I'm fresh out.
To the Seattle City Council I say this: Chris Hansen has completed every form you've put in front of him, answered every question that you've asked of him, and pledged money to fund a transportation fund that the Port has yet to commit to. All the Port has done is lob mortars. Please, don't reward them for it.