Investor Chris Hansen on Wednesday had to answer hard questions by the Seattle City Council on his SODO arena proposal.
Traffic and the future of Seattle Center took center stage as the city council reviewed the plan.
Hansen revealed that he was part of a last ditch effort to save the Sonics and renovate KeyArena back in 2008. But on Wednesday he said the city-owned building is not a long-term option as he took his shot at convincing the council to approve his offer.
Critics say Hansen's arena would prompt gridlock, especially for trucks and train traffic at the Port of Seattle. Hansen showed off his team's early plans at attempting to ease traffic concerns.
KING 5's Chris Daniels covered Wednesday's Seattle City Council hearing on the proposed NBA arena in the SODO neighborhood. The feed below is a full recap of the tweets he sent out. (Story continues below)
The council didn't necessarily wave any red flags Wednesday and didn't address a claim by former Seattle Councilmember Pete Steinbrueck that the arena would violate current city code. That's been since dismissed by Seattle code enforcers.
Hansen's architects, 360 Architecture, also responded to claims the arena violates city law in a public letter to Hansen:
Dear Mr. Hansen:
We read the Sports Press Northwest article authored by Art Thiel, “Arena location violates city law, says expert” which contained quoted statements regarding the ability to fit a modern NBA/NHL arena on the SoDo site. It also contained quotes regarding Land Use questions about the site, which are outside of our expertise as sports architects.
We can state confidently that based on our 20 years of experience in designing arenas, that the dimensions of the SoDo site will support a modern NBA/NHL facility. In our preliminary studies for the site conducted nearly a year ago, we overlaid several other modern arenas on the project site to verify there is sufficient area and critical dimensions. The site fits such arenas comfortably. The site would only be inadequate for one of the "super-sized" arenas such as Staples Center or Amway Center in Orlando. These buildings have 150,000-300,000 extra square feet of office and lobby space that would be totally unnecessary for an arena in the SoDo area of the Seattle market.
As you know, we have also begun preliminary plan-testing of different possible designs for this project. We are comfortable that the site is sufficient to host both the Arena and ancillary facilities at the capacities and sizes described in the MOU.
Also, the article indicates that the Philadelphia sports facilities (2 arenas, a football stadium and a ballpark) are in a suburban location. While those venues are not in Philadelphia’s central core, they are definitely in a low rise urban area, not unlike Seattle’s SoDo district.
Please contact us if you have any further questions.
*Anton Foss, AIA, Principal*
Councilmember Tim Burgess said Wednesnesday - he believes at least on the city side - he hopes to take a vote around mid-August.
KING 5's Chris Daniels, Liza Javier and Travis Pittman contributed to this report.