Manufacturers' group states concerns about Seattle arena

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ChrisDaniels5

KING5.com

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 7 at 5:55 PM

SEATTLE -– The Manufacturing Industrial Council on Thursday sent a lengthy letter to Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess explaining why the group believes a proposed arena in SODO could hurt businesses like theirs.

The five-page document, signed by MIC Director Dave Gering, lists nine points, including concerns about growth prospects, port traffic and pedestrian access.

The letter also cites a 2010 Seattle Department of Transportation study that showed a significant traffic volume increase on game days between 2 and 4 p.m. near the South Holgate Railroad Crossing. That study, according to the MIC, covered night games at Safeco averaging 26,000 fans.

SDOT consultants testified before a City Council committee on Thursday that that spike was actually due to normal commuter travel, and was not related to game days, although pedestrian infrastructure improvements are needed in the area.

The Council tabled a discussion about the future of Key Arena at Seattle Center, which could be a key component in negotiations.  The City owns the property free and clear after a deal with Thunder Owner Clay Bennett.

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said she believes the City should explore whether the Arena could be renovated, or demolished and a new arena built at its location -- eliminating the need for a third major sports venue in SODO.

Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams said Thursday he believes a new arena is "inevitable," and that the man leading the private group behind the arena proposal -- Chris Hansen -- has promised financial support to help renovate Key as a smaller venue, theater, or exhibition space.

"We used to have the Coliseum, and we used to have the Mercer Arena, so we've already had a situation with a partner arena," said Nellams, "The future can be fairly bright here."
 

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