Seattle arena: Final vote still months away?

SEATTLE -- It's been three years and it may be three more months before a decision is reached on the Seattle Arena proposal.

Outgoing City Council Transportation Chair Tom Rasmussen said last month that the street vacation vote for the SoDo arena project could be discussed as early as January.  But that now appears to not be the case.

Multiple Seattle City Hall sources confirm council members and central staff are hammering out a schedule which will provide multiple opportunities for public feedback on the proposed NBA and NHL arena in SoDo.  Investor Chris Hansen has asked the city to vacate a two-block stretch of Occidental Avenue in order to build his 700,000 square foot building.  He's offered to build a new road north of the project as well as new sidewalks, a public park, and pedestrian bridge in exchange for the vacation.

Central staff appear to have a framework for the schedule which first involves a resolution for an evening public meeting.  That requires a 28-day notice, by city by law, and could be presented within the next week or two. That would likely put the meeting near the end of February or first week in March.  Staff have been trying to coordinate schedules with council members in order to have the biggest turnout.

After the meeting, in the process being discussed right now, there will then be one or more transportation committee meetings chaired by Seattle City Councilman Mike O'Brien. If the proposal makes it out of committee, the full council could then vote after that.

It's considered to be the last key decision in the project which was approved in a Memorandum of Understanding between Hansen and the city back in 2012.  That MOU expires in 2017 and required extensive studies and transportation surveys. 


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