McGinn confirms talks to build NBA arena in SODO

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:19 AM

SEATTLE -- The City of Seattle has been working behind the scenes for the past eight months to bring back the NBA.

Mayor Mike McGinn confirmed Monday that negotiations are underway with San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen to build a new arena in SODO.

KING 5's Chris Daniels broke the news in December that Hansen bought a 3-acre parcel near Safeco Field for $21.6 million -- nearly $3 million more than its assessed value.

Hansen, who grew up in Seattle and graduated from Roosevelt High School, proposed building an arena that could host both an NBA and an NHL team.

"If somebody comes forward and is going to spend or invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our city, we have to take that seriously," McGinn said Monday.

McGinn said no public money would be used to build a new stadium -- no dollars from the general fund and no new taxes.

"I believe we have to be very careful and prudent with out city dollars," he said.

The mayor has hired a consultant and put together a team to work on the arena project, but the next move is in Hansen's court.

Once Hansen puts forward a firm proposal, McGinn said he will take it to the City Council for discussion.

One NBA team that could make the move to Seattle is the Sacramento Kings. That team faces a March 1 deadline to negotiate a new arena deal there.

NBA Commissioner David Stern on Tuesday told the Salt Lake Tribune he had general knowlege of the talks and that he thought Seattle was a great destination, provided a new arena is built. He also said there were indications that negotiations between the Kings and Sacramento were positive. Stern said there are no plans to expand the league to 31 teams.

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