Details of a facility proposal that could bring the NBA back to the Pacific Northwest were presented to Seattle’s City Council today, Chris Daniels of King 5 writes, but don’t dust off that vintage Detlef Schrempf jersey just yet.
A press conference to discuss the occasion was scheduled for today but was promptly cancelled after the abrupt resignation of mayor Ed Murray following the latest in a series of sexual abuse allegations.
As Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes, given that Murray had been a been a strong proponent of the proposal to restore 45-year-old KeyArena, the mayoral vacancy could potentially open the door to other parties interested in providing a pro sports-ready venue.
Just last week we discussed how a Chris Hansen-led inevstor group similarly interested in reviving the spirit of the Sonics offered to repurpose KeyArena, but as a smaller scale venue after construction was completed on their own brand new facility in the Sodo District of town (where MLB’s Mariners and the NFL’s Seahawks play).
Shortly after that Hansen group offer was made public, however, a statement from Seattle’s Office of Economic Development said that they should have submitted a formal proposal months prior when the city specifically solicited them.
It was during this formal solicitation period, that Oak View Group, a Los Angeles-based sports development company spearheaded by former Raptors executive Tim Leiweke, did put forth a submission to renovate KeyArena, with intentions of housing both an NHL and an NBA franchise.
It’s at this point where things grow even more complicated.
Back in 2012, Hansen and his group actually came to an agreement with the city that they would build their new arena in the Sodo District but it was contingent on the NBA officially rewarding the city a franchise, which obviously has not happened at this point.
That pact expires in early December, an Associated Press report says, meaning that three months from now, the city will be officially free of their commitment to Hansen and thus eligible to vote on the Oak View Group proposal, which could see renovations on the 45-year-old building starting, possibly, as early as October 2018.
As Daniels explains in his King 5 article, the details of the Memorandum of Understanding revealed today lay out some of the financial obligations that the Oak View Group would have toward the city, the logistics of parking and how inevitable traffic problems could be mitigated.
Whether this all ends up happening, of course, is contingent upon the city voting to approve the proposal later this year. If the Oak View Group’s support weakens with Murray’s sudden absence, for example, we may see an opportunity for Hansen and company to sneak back into the picture.
Alas, as Stone writes, there appears to be a decent amount of inertia behind the Oak View Group’s proposal and “the heft of city politics still seem aligned” behind it.