SEATTLE -- Don Levin has danced around the issue for weeks. Is he going to be the man who leads a new arena project in the Puget Sound region? He was more forthcoming when we spoke on Tuesday.
“I’m not building an arena,” said Levin.
Levin, the Chicago Businessman, and owner of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, says he’s “just a poor guy from Chicago,” but admitted for the first time he does have interest in bringing a professional sports franchise to Western Washington.
“It’s a great area, great hockey area, good sports market,” says Levin, who at one point a few years ago considered purchasing MLB’s Chicago Cubs, “[The Puget Sound] has everything you need.”
Earlier this month, KING 5 reported Levin had been in Bellevue to discuss a privately financed arena project. Sources say that Levin was serious when he discussed the idea with local leaders.
But Levin backed away from that. “No one can do that alone. I don’t have the money to do that,” said Levin, “Plus, you can’t have just one tenant in a building.”
His preferred tenant would be an NHL franchise. Levin ruled out any interest, “none,” in an NBA franchise and says he’s strictly focused on hockey. “It’s a good junior hockey market,” says Levin.
Levin has a diversified background. He founded D.H.L. Enterprises in 1969, according to the Wolves website, and the Chicago-based company’s interests are varied. The site claims D.H.L has “holdings in many industries, including tobacco processing; aircraft and medical equipment leasing; licensed sports product manufacturing and distribution; and motion picture production and distribution. Levin's film company has made nearly 20 motion pictures distributed in the U.S. and overseas, featuring such stars as Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Sharon Stone, Rodney Dangerfield and Chuck Norris.”
Levin, who attended the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver, says he’s willing to listen to possibilities if another group steps forward to express an interest in owning an NBA franchise.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, long mentioned as a possible NBA franchise owner, recently publicly declared that Seattle has a “real estate problem” when it comes to a new arena.
KING 5 reported in May about a land deal which fell through related to an arena project. This came a day after NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told KING 5 in an exclusive interview a group was interested in bringing a franchise to the Seattle-area.