SEATTLE – Seattle arena investor Chris Hansen, in a whirlwind day, made a stop at Seattle City Hall to make another pitch to vacate a one-block stretch of Occidental.
Most notably, Hansen, along with fellow investors Wally Walker and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, met with Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez.
The councilmember voted against the street vacation last year, but Hansen said the meeting went well and there was a chance for Gonzalez to discuss her past concerns about the project.
Hansen's group, which has been pitching an arena project since 2012, has a Memorandum of Understanding with the city to build an NBA and NHL complex. However, after the rejection, the group is now offering to privately finance and build the project and not vacate the street until acquisition of a team.
In an interview with KING 5, he spoke at length about the competing Request for Proposals on a KeyArena renovation. The city has asked, through the RFP, for a proposal that could make the Key suitable for the NBA and NHL.
"If you tear down Key Arena, there is nowhere for a team to play for five to seven years," Hansen said.
Hansen said his group would be in a position to bid on a team right now if the vacation was granted.
"From my seat, it seems like we need to be ready," he said.
He also raised a question of whether the two interested groups in KeyArena, AEG and the Oak View Group, could make it more difficult for an NBA or NHL team to call Seattle home. Both are precluded from owning teams, because they have stakes in other franchises.
"It is more difficult than if you own a building as an NHL or NBA team and control your own destiny," he said. "There is a reason why the majority of building in the NBA or NHL arenas are (controlled by owner). Doesn't mean it can't work, but in brings additional layers to complexity in negotiations. Their primary goal could be bringing concerts to Seattle, and (we want to bring the best venue) for NBA and NHL team.”
Hansen said his group has had discussions with potential NHL ownership groups and "will continue to have discussions," because there is a "probability that will happen first."
The city is not expected to address the Street Vacation request for several months. The RFP responses are due by April 12.
Hansen says he's learned from the setback last year, and how his group plans to move forward.
"The measure of a person is how you act when you fail, not when you're successful," he said.