SEATTLE - A day after a big defeat, Seattle investor Chris Hansen stayed the course.
On Tuesday, Seattle's Department of Planning and Development says a formal Master Use Permit was filed for Hansen's Seattle Arena project, as originally scheduled. Bryan Stevens, a spokesperson for DPD, says it is a significant step in the process for the project.
The MUP comes after a preliminary design was approved, and allows the city to review all procedures, and outline potential appealable decisions. An environmental review is already underway, and according to Stevens, is expected to be completed in draft form in June.
The Memorandum of Understanding, approved by Hansen, the City, and King County, calls for the project to break ground only after a final review and acquisition of a team.
The latter suffered a major blow yesterday, after the NBA's relocation committee, made up of seven owners, unanimously denied a request to move the Kings franchise to Seattle. It is widely believed that league owners will follow the committee's recommendation when they formally meet next month.
Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess, who chairs the Government Performance and Finance Committee, says he reached out to Hansen's group and was told they still wanted to continue on with the public process. Burgess says that's why he'll still hold a hearing over a Key Arena use agreement tomorrow.
That agreement, forwarded to the council by the Mayor's office, calls for Hansen's group to pay the city $1,500,000 a year for use of the Arena, and spend up to $3 million in upgrades. It needs City Council approval.
Hansen did not issue a statement today about his next step, but told supporters on his website on Monday:
"While we are disappointed with the relocation committee’s recommendation, we just wanted to let you all know that we remain fully committed to seeing this transaction through. As you are all well aware, we have a binding transaction to purchase the Kings for what would be a record price for an NBA franchise, have one of the best ownership groups ever assembled to purchase a professional sports team in the US, have clearly demonstrated that we have a much more solid Arena plan, have offered a much higher price than the yet to be finalized Sacramento Group, and have placed all of the funds to close the transaction into escrow. As such, we plan to unequivocally state our case for both relocation and our plan to move forward with the transaction to the league and owners at the upcoming Board of Governor’s Meeting in Mid-May.
When we started this process everyone thought it was impossible. While this represents yet another obstacle to achieving our goal, I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up. Impossible is nothing but a state of mind."
NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver both appeared on PBS' Charlie Rose Show Tuesday night. They spoke about several topics including the committee's recommendation yesterday.
Stern called Steve Ballmer a "perfect prototype for an NBA owner." But claimed the Sacramento Mayor and the local investors had stepped up.
Silver gave a different explanation for the NBA's current philosophy.
"I think some people are surprised at the preliminary decision the relocation committee has made because they say well but look at Seattle. There are more corporate headquarters, There's more TV households, there's the potential to generate more revenue there? Shouldn't you move a franchise to the market where there is more revenue? And I, our response is not necessarily, that if you look at total value over time and brand building and community support that continuity is important," said Silver.