SEATTLE -- Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen opened up Wednesday afternoon in his first TV interview, describing his plans to build a new basketball and hockey arena.
Hansen said that a commitment from an NHL and NBA team to move to Seattle might not be needed to start construction on land in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. Noting that construction would take a number of years, he said it's important for Seattle get started now.
I think we have to be ready at the times the franchise opportunities present themselves to act, said Hansen.
He said he and his partners have locked in all the land they need for an arena, plus more land for retail and restaurant space.
We would love to of course, some form of mixed use entertainment, like at the Staples Center in Los Angeles...LA Live, said Hansen.
Hansen also told KING 5 his plan includes putting money into KeyArena saying he's had people at the Key the last two or three days examining what it would take to get the building ready for temporary use.
We'll obviously play there [KeyArena] for a couple years, said Hansen. We'd like to find a long term solution...everybody has fond memories of the Key and we'd all like to turn it into something nice.
Now, Hansen's ideal timetable would be to get city and county financing done by the time NBA owners meet in April.
This might happen soon, it might take a while...I'm optimistic, said Hansen.
Hansen declined to talk about specific teams or investors involved. He said realistically it could take longer to finalize a deal than just in April.
Hansen, however, made it clear that he is not looking outside of Seattle, like in Bellevue, to bring back the SuperSonics.
We're working to make it happen in Seattle. This is where the Seattle SuperSonics were after all. This is their home, said Hansen.
He also did not say if the NBA has given him assurances about a team if the city and county pass the $490 million arena plan.