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NBA/NHL arena potpourri

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We take a look at where we are at in the quest to acquire franchises and build arenas.

Look. An arena picture
Look. An arena picture
Sonics Arena

There are no major developments to discuss in our effort to build an NBA/NHL arena in the Seattle region. That doesn't mean we can't talk about stuff.

SEATTLE HAPPENINGS

As we are all aware, the NHL wants to come to Seattle in a bad way. We are also aware that construction can't begin for the proposed SoDo arena without an NBA franchise, unless the MOU is modified to allow for it. As Chris Hansen made us aware last week, there have been no proposals from any NHL group to help make that happen. And so we wait.

We also wait for June 18, when the Design Commission next meets to determine the public benefits of the area.

TUKWILA HAPPENINGS

We are largely in a holding pattern regarding Ray Bartoszek's arena proposal in the City of Tukwila, but there are a few things you should know.

It's a real effort

Many have been skeptical about the effort in Tukwila, to the point of wondering if this is just an attempt to torpedo Hansen's proposal in SoDo. Sonics Rising founder Brian Robinson hears otherwise.

"Its my understanding that the group there is sincere in their effort and working fast, but still in the early stages of a very complex real estate deal. They have a lot of ground to cover and a short window of opportunity, so will probably be too busy to focus on public engagement in the immediate future."

In other words, the Bartoszek effort is far from a slam dunk, but it is a true effort, and we may not hear much from him for a while.

Meeting on Tuesday

As has been widely reported, an application for a SEPA review was turned in weeks ago. This involves "public scoping." As part of the process, there is a public meeting at the Tukwila Community Center on Tuesday (June 2) from 4:30 to 6:30.

You can also submit comments via email or regular mail until June 12.

If the claims are accurate that Tukwila goes through red tape like a hot knife through melted butter, these sessions may not be a big deal. Still, it's always good to let our voices be heard.

Sound Transit Expansion

According to a report at King 5 last week, plans to expand Sound Transit's Link light rail system with the "University Link" are coming to fruition sooner than expected.

On Tuesday, the Agency's Engineers, along with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, celebrated what they say was a major advancement for the project. The Capitol Hill Station, near the corner of Broadway and John, is nearly complete, and train testing will begin in August. Sound Transit says the project, which involved boring four separate tunnels between Downtown and Husky Stadium, will likely open in the first quarter of next year.

So what does expanding to these locations have to do with an arena in Tuk Town? An article at the Seattle PI will tell you.

Local players at the center of the project include NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, Sonics legend Fred Brown and Bellevue architect Jerry Lee, who have been integral to developing a plan to build the proposed facility near Tukwila Station, which serves Sound Transit and Amtrak trains. According to a slew of official documents released to media Tuesday evening, the powers that be have been maneuvering for at least the past two years.

One of the complaints about the location of the Tukwila arena is that it's hard to get to. Sound Transit's Sounder commuter trains currently use the Tukwila station and have been offered as a possible solution to help game and event attendees travel to the arena.

The proposed arena group has been in negotiations with Sound Transit to expand the Link light rail, which currently terminates at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to a stop in Tukwila near Southcenter. Expanding Sound Transit throughout the region can't hurt.

LEAGUE HAPPENINGS

The championship series for both the NBA and NHL are set to begin later this week. Any time big events like this happen, movers and shakers tend to congregate. There may be press conferences from commissioners Adam Silver and Gary Bettman. If either or both happen, we have no idea what will be discussed or if the Seattle situation will come up. We also watch from afar as situations in Milwaukee and Glendale play out in their own unique ways and of their own volition.

SONICS RISING HAPPENINGS

Thank you for continuing to come here for information, and for one of the longest group therapy sessions in human history. Please, stay engaged and keep your chins up. Good things are ahead.