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The public benefits of Seattle Arena, part 3: Return of the MOU

By now I'm sure you've read part 1 of our "Public benefits of Seattle Arena" series, where we chronicled many of the benefits that were laid out in the SonicsArena group's Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Seattle. You'll notice I said "many," by not "all." I took a second look over the document and found a few more nuggets. Here's a taste.


The Arena will be designed and constructed to comply with applicable City requirements for sustainable construction and will strive to utilize the most modern practices of sustainable design and construction available at the time of construction in accordance with ArenaCo’s business interests.

Support of Racial and Ethnic Communities

The Project should promote and include the racial and ethnic communities of the City of Seattle and King County. Part of this Project’s economic and community contribution is to engage local minority workers and businesses who are historically disenfranchised, as well as low-income workers and businesses. All Parties agree upon the importance of effective strategies and programs to include local minority and woman workers and firms in Project design and construction, with an ongoing commitment by ArenaCo to use reasonable efforts to use such local workers in the operations and maintenance aspects of the Arena. To that end, ArenaCo commits to using the City of Seattle’s Inclusion Plan as guidance for use of Women and Minority Business Enterprises (WMBEs) on the Project. This includes using specific strategies such as the use of the "Worksheet of Possibilities" that helps bidders analyze what work or supply could be subcontracted to WMBE firms, the use of the "Contract Commitment Log" that documents (i) WMBE firms the prime contractor commits to subcontract with and (ii) contract amounts awarded to WMBE firms.

Labor Peace

Following the execution of the Umbrella Agreement, ArenaCo will enter into a "labor peace agreement."

The Developer shall maintain such labor peace or project labor agreements with such labor organizations for the duration of the proprietary interest of the City and County or other public agencies in uninterrupted revenues from the operation of the Arena which agreements will limit the rights of such union and its members to engage in economic activity against the operation.

Non-relocation agreement

The non-relocation agreements will contain terms that require the NBA and NHL franchises to maintain their NBA or NHL membership in good standing during the term of the Arena Use Agreement. Under those non-relocation agreements, the NBA and NHL teams will not relocate from the City of Seattle, will not apply to the NBA or the NHL to transfer to another location outside of the City of Seattle, will not enter into or participate in any negotiations or discussions with, or apply for, or seek approval from, third-parties with respect to any agreement, legislation or financing that contemplates or would be reasonably likely to result in any breach of the non-relocation agreement, and will have no right to terminate the non-relocation agreement during the term of the agreement, in each case except as provided in the definitive non-relocation agreement.

While the non-relocation clause is a big selling point for us sports fans, the labor peace and support for minority workers is a major feather in the cap of Hansen and Co. in the eyes of politicians and union workers. It's also great to see that the building will be sustainable, and not have to be renovated every 10 years like some venues.