Investor Chris Hansen has reached a tentative agreement with Seattle city council on the financial terms of a proposed new sports arena for the city, according to reports by the Seattle Times and KING 5 News. Both reports suggest that Hansen and his group have agreed to establish a $40MM transportation fund, reducing the financial commitment for taxpayers and alleviating concerns about traffic near the proposed arena.
Nothing is official yet, but the agreement between the two sides is expected to be announced later today. If things go smoothly, the proposal should be officially approved by city council within the next few weeks, at which point Hansen could tell the NBA that the city of Seattle is ready to host a franchise. Of course, that doesn't guarantee an NBA team will come to Seattle, but it would give the city a leg up on many other potential destinations if a franchise were to relocate.
Seattle mayor Mike McGinn released a statement late last night expressing enthusiasm about the latest step forward in the process, according to the KING 5 report:
"I welcome the news that the City Council has decided to support bringing basketball back to Seattle. [King County] Executive [Dow] Constantine and I negotiated a proposal with Chris Hansen, an Arena Review Panel vetted it and the County Council approved it. The City Council was the last piece of the puzzle. We haven't gotten a team yet, but Sonics fans have a reason to smile today."