SEATTLE - The Seattle mayor's office and Seattle Department of Transportation are ready to grant a request to make Chris Hansen's Seattle arena proposal a reality.
On Monday, Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT sent a 65-page report to the Seattle City Council, which recommends the street vacation of Occidental to allow for a new arena to be built in SoDo.
The street vacation recommendation, signed by Seattle Transportation Director Scott Kubly, highlights the lengthy list of reports and studies of the SoDo location, and adds line items to the approval, including the addition of a 1,750-stall parking garage and pedestrian bridge at South Holgate Street.
It is widely considered to be the final step for the project in the lengthy Seattle process. The Memorandum of Understanding, approved in 2012, calls for up to $200 million in project public financing, repaid by Hansen's group, as long as he acquires an NBA and NHL team for the facility.
Seattle City Council Transportation Chair Tom Rasmussen has previously indicated, however, that the council will not likely take up the issue until January at the earliest.
Hansen has asked for the vacation of Occidental, of approximately 680 feet, to build the 750,000-square-foot facility. In exchange, his group is now offering to build a public plaza, comparable in size to Victor Steinbrueck Park, and the bridge to take away the street.
The recommendation letter says that the same site, without a street vacation, could also host two large, mixed use office buildings of up to 810,000 square feet and not publicly used space.
The SDOT letter also pours water on the hot-button complaints about the site from the Port of Seattle and Seattle Mariners.
In response to concerns from Geri Poor at the Port of Seattle, the letter reads: "It should also be noted that the Heavy Haul Route legislation, passed (by the council) in October 2015, only identifies Occidental Avenue South as a "Heavy Haul Route" from South Horton Street to South Holgate Street. The segment proposed to be vacated is not included in the Port's important Heavy Haul Network. This is a clear sign that Occidental is not necessary to freight movement or Port Operations."
It continues: "You allege negative land use impacts that will occur as a result of the proposal. This allegation is not supported by the EIS or the City's policies or zoning code. The EIS concludes that no significant adverse impact related to land use will occur as a result of the project."
The letter also says, in response to concerns raised by the Mariners about a potential new neighbor, "The vacation of Occidental for the arena will not negatively impact the Mariners' garage or staging operations."