Art Thiel does a great job describing why it's a nonsense pipe dream. Thank you, Art, for being a rational, unbiased media voice in this key matter. Pun intended.
Geoff Baker's claims fail to recognize many key points in this matter:
1) Key Arena is a non-starter as a permanent home for any Seattle teams. NHL stated this via email to King 5 News. The NBA of course moved the Sonics to OKC because of the inadequacy of the Key. Clearly the leagues and their ownership groups require significantly more enhanced revenue tools today than when the Key was remodeled in the 90s. The arena itself, and the area surrounding the Key is not ripe for the kind of development that ownership groups need to make money.
2) No ownership group has put any money forward, or evidenced any concrete action whatsoever, in relation to Key Arena as a permanent option for NBA or NHL. Geoff Baker claims that that Los Angeles businessman Victor Coleman's group is keenly interested in the Key, however this is all based off of one email to City of Seattle officials, an email that was later publicly backtracked on. Geoff Baker fails to acknowledge the public backtracking.
3) Hansen owns the land for the arena in SODO, and enough surrounding properties to make his investment worthwhile. There is no ownership group that owns land in such density around the Key Arena, nor will there be.
4) Hansen has an agreement with the City and County. There is no such agreement around Key Arena.
5) The agreement provides public bonding authority, to be paid back by Hansen. There is no such bonding agreement around Key Arena.
6) The agreement contains investments for infrastructure in SODO. There are no such agreed investments for Key Arena.
7) The agreement contains personal guarantees from Hansen. There are no such guarantees for Key Arena.
8) Traffic around the Key Arena and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods will be even more of a disaster than it is now if you add NBA/NHL traffic to the area.
9) Per Hansen, on the Queen Anne / Key Arena neighborhood, "There’s not enough parking in the neighborhood, and excavating an underground lot would be very costly."
I don't mind that Geoff Baker is against the Sonics Arena in SODO. What I mind is that he is apparently not capable of providing unbiased reporting around the effort to bring the Sonics and NHL back to Seattle.
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