It's been six years.
Six long years since Chris Hansen and his investment group started their effort to build a new arena in SODO. He was back in town on Tuesday to testify before the Seattle City Council about the new plan to build an arena at Seattle Center.
"We have the right and obligation to Sonics fans to argue that our solution is still the best one for the NBA," said Hansen Tuesday, in advance of his appearance.
Hansen believes the city should still move forward on his street vacation petition, despite the tentative MOU with the Oak View Group on a $660 million package to build a concert and sports venue at the KeyArena site.
He testified during public comment at a previously scheduled council meeting over the KeyArena proposal, and personally asked Council members to move forward on his street vacation petition. All seven council members in attendance listened intently, with Council member Debora Juarez thanking Hansen for his testimony. Only Council members Kshama Sawant and Bruce Harrell were absent.
Hansen says he also now believes the city could move forward on KeyArena and his proposal.
"I think it would work better when you consider the purchase price for NBA teams. Look at Houston as an NBA comp," said Hansen.
The NBA's Rockets just sold for $2.2 billion.
"A venue with an NHL partners and music partner and NBA partner is inherently going to lead to issues," he said, "with how to divvy up the pie."
Hansen says he believes, without citing specific numbers, the KeyArena proposal has a fair amount of public financing and redirected revenues. But he says he's not interested in exchanging insults with the Leiweke group, including a suggestion that he stop "chasing the ghost."
"I don't respond to negativity like that - not the way I'm built. I compliment Tim for being able to get the project on where it's gotten and seemingly lining up an NHL partner in Bonderman. I don't have anything bad to say about their efforts. I think we have a better solution."
The San Francisco-based investment manager also says he will not go away.
"We own all of our land in SODO. We are not going to sell our land or do anything different...until there is an NBA team here. Our job and our goal is to bring an NBA team back to Seattle...no one can make us sell our land or do anything different, and we're gonna sit here, patient, as long as it takes in order to get an NBA franchise back to Seattle," said Hansen.
Regarding questions that his project is dead, Hansen perks up.
"We are not going to sell our land. We are going to sit here," he smiles. "Until there is actual team getting off a plane here or a new NBA expansion franchise granted...and me and Wally and Pete and Erik and Russell are watching an NBA tip-off here."