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Tukwila Arena in the Lead?

New details emerge about the proposed arena in Tukwila.

Just how real is the potential for the Tukwila arena proposed by Ray Bartoszek, Bill Russell, Fred Brown, and Jerry Lee? Very, apparently.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times and Chris Daniels of KING5-TV are both reporting about a packet of materials each has received from the city of Tukwila. Each contains descriptions of the amount of land Bartoszek's group has the option to purchase, as well as letters written from the city to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NBA commissioner Adam Silver last November.

According to Baker, Tukwila hopes to fast track the environmental review process to push their project into the lead to land both hockey and basketball franchises.

The documents, made available to The Seattle Times after a public-records request a month ago, include a letter from the city’s economic development administrator, Derek Speck, stating that an Environmental Impact Statement typically could be completed within "six to twelve months,’’ but the city would try to complete it sooner."

The environmental review process for the new Seahawks stadium (now CenturyLink Field) took about 8 months from a start in roughly late August 1997 to the publication of the FEIS on April 21, 1998. It's seen as a fairly smooth review process, especially in comparison to that undertaken for the SoDo arena proposal, the FEIS of which is still on schedule to be released next week on May 7th.

As this is considered a private project for SEPA purposes, they are only required to offer two or more options on the intended project site and a no-action alternative. Private projects do not require that other locations be considered in the EIS process.

Chris Daniels offers up a preliminary design of the arena featured in the information they acquired.

Tukwila Arena Proposal

Chris Daniels, KING 5 News, via City of Tukwila & RLB Holdings

Baker notes that the strip of land owned by a Leuqar BB LLC out of Minnesota that was thought to be land owned by Bartoszek has actually not been purchased by his group yet. It, along with the sliver of land to the east of it that is owned by the city of Tukwila, are final pieces to be negotiated. As for the other land to be involved, Baker notes:

The eight parcels Bartoszek does control are all said to have finalized sale agreements to be exercised once the arena process unfolds further. Owners of the land in question were first approached late last year and made to sign non-disclosure agreements covering all details of sales worked out.

Now, we're still a long way from completion. Sources tell Sonics Rising that there is potential investment concern over the viability of the project. Between the arena construction and NHL and NBA team acquisitions, this could very well be a $2 billion investment before even taking into account operation of the teams and facilities. As details emerge and are refined, those concerns may be put to rest.

In addition, some apprehension has been expressed over some of those involved in the project group, namely Fred Brown. Daniels notes that the Tukwila documents identify Brown as having been the lead through some of this arena process. Brown was also the lead behind the earlier failed Emerald City Center project, and significant questions were raised during that process.

It remains to be seen what kind of response the city of Seattle and Chris Hansen and his SoDo group will provide to this latest development. In the meantime, the Port of Seattle is prematurely gloating over a perceived demise of the Hansen proposed arena. Stay classy, POS.

For now, though, this is a welcome advancement in the Seattle arena game. We look forward to more details.

More to come as it becomes available.


With all the news of the day, Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker agreed to step back into the Sin Bin to talk it over.

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