SODO arena group releases new financial document on proposed project

The SODO arena group is not done trying to make their case for building an NBA/NHL facility south of downtown.

On Wednesday, the group, led by Chris Hansen, released a letter of financial support for the project from JP Morgan Chase.  The document, dated May 3, states:

"This letter serves to demonstrate J.P. Morgan’s interest in potentially participating in a financing of the Project" and goes on to say "You have advised J.P. Morgan that you intend to finance the Project with a combination of sources including ownership equity, the sale of seat licenses and sponsorship contracts and the proceeds of debt secured by revenues of the Project (the “Debt Financing”). You have provided J.P. Morgan with a preliminary financial analysis detailing the sources and uses, revenues and expenses of the Project (the “Financial Model”). Based upon the information that you have provided to us to date, which we have relied upon without independent verification regarding the accuracy and completeness of all of the information reviewed, the current market for loans and securities generally and for loans and securities issued by entities engaged in similar industries and for transactions of this type, and while subject to further due diligence, we support the Sponsors in connection with the Project and believe they are capable of securing, managing, and bringing to financial close the financing of this Project."

It's a clear response to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and others who have doubted the group's ability to finance an arena in the wake of the departure of Steve Ballmer. 

On Wednesday, Murray told KING 5 about the KeyArena project: "All the funders are there, all the money's there. That's not true at the other end. It's a street vacation waiting for a future group of people to come together."

In fact, Ballmer told KUOW this week: "I actually retain an ownership position in the land in SODO," but he added "I don't care" where the new arena is built.

The letter also is a clear attempt to counter a similar financial document provided by the Oak View Group for its financing of a KeyArena renovation.  However, that document from Goldman Sachs, which was part of the OVG KeyArena bid, states the financing was based on OVG's desire to fund construction by equity contributed by the company, historic tax credits tax rebates, and indebtedness of approximately $150-$200 million to be incurred by OVG.

The Seattle City Council is expected to begin diving into the financials of both projects at a committee hearing on July 10.

© 2017 KING-TV


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