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The Seattle Mariners are teaming with maritime and industrial groups on a telephone poll to gauge interest in building a new sports arena in SODO.

San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen wants to build the new basketball and hockey arena on land just south of Safeco field -- which is also close to Seattle's port.

Mariners officials acknowledge that they have concerns about how a new arena could affect parking and transportation through the area.

But Mariners management also says they do not oppose the return of an NBA franchise to the city.

The narrow SODO district -- bordered by I-5 on the east and Elliott Bay on the west -- is already facing traffic problems as the city and state work to replace the aging SR 99 viaduct, which is one of two major highways connecting Seattle to points south. During a one-week viaduct closure last fall, SODO streets were clogged during rush hour with commuters forced to find alternate routes.

The proposal from the group led by Hansen remains under review in Seattle and King County. Government officials and Hansen say a $200 million public bond issue for the project would be paid back via taxes and rent on the new arena.

A citizens commission appointed by Seattle and King County officials to review the Hansen proposal is expected to report its findings at a public hearing Wednesday evening.

Reporting by KING 5 News's Chris Daniels.

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