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Report: Seattle City Council to hire arena consultant

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The Seattle City Council informed Mayor Ed Murray that an independent arena consultant would be hired to vet the

According to a SPORTSPRESSNW report by Art Thiel, the Seattle City Council has sent a letter to Mayor Ed Murray expressing two things. First, the council will hire an independent consultant to vet the Oak View Group’s proposed KeyArena renovation. Second, the council is asking the mayor to complete negotiations for a Memorandum of Understanding by September 12.

Thiel had called on the council to take this step in a column earlier this month.

Here are some key passages.

“We hope this MOU will establish a framework to resolve the questions and concerns raised during the (request for proposals) process in the final development and lease agreements,” the letter said. “To help us review your proposed legislation and MOU, the Council intends to retain an independent consultant with expertise in developing world-class municipal arenas, especially as it relates to risks associated with the financial terms and conditions, municipal financial protections, and the Oak View Group’s expertise and wherewithal to successfully complete the project.

Murray, whose term of office will expire Dec. 31 unless he changes his mind about an earlier decision not to seek re-election, has said he wants the council’s response after the Dec. 3 expiration of the MOU between the city and Chris Hansen, who has spent five years seeking to build a sports-first arena in Sodo.

The letter said that meeting the Sept. 12 deadline will allow the council to have at least one public meeting on the subject.