City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

February 16, 2012
Seattle mayor releases arena proposal, says pathway exists to get NBA team

Seattle officials released the outline Thursday of a proposal to build a new NBA arena in the city.

The arena would be funded with $300 million in money from San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and a group of investors, along with $200 million in bonds issued by the city of Seattle and King County. Those bonds would be paid back by rental payments from arena tenants and tax revenue generated by the facility, said Mayor Mike McGinn.

As for which NBA team is in Seattle's sights, McGinn said he was not speaking with the league and was leaving that up to Hansen. Officials said the arena would not be built without an NBA tenant.

Still, the mayor said, "there are pathways to obtaining a team and (Hansen is) obviously not going to be committing time and effort ...unless he feels his prospects are good."

Media reports from Seattle have indicated that officials in the Pacific Northwest have been monitoring the arena effort in Sacramento. The owners of the Sacramento Kings, however, have said they have no interest in selling their team and are waiting for the city's arena financing plan to unfold.

McGinn stressed that the arena plan is in its early stages. But officials appear to be moving quickly; a citizen panel has been given one month to dissect the plan and report back to city officials.

Under the proposal, the private investment group would cover cost overruns of construction and would pay into a reserve fund to cover revenue shortfalls.

"On first look, this is an exciting proposal and it could mean big things for Seattle," McGinn said.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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