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SODO arena group continues to push for NBA-focused venue

Chris Hansen and his investment team aren't giving up on building a new arena in Seattle's SODO District.
Artist rendering of a proposed sports arena in Seattle's SODO neighborhood. (Photo: KING)

The above video is from April 2018 when Hansen announced he would continue his effort to build an arena in SoDO. 

The group that has fought for years to get approval to build an arena in Seattle's SODO district isn't giving up.

In a letter addressed to Mayor Jenny Durkan and the city council, investors say "an alternative arena option" in Seattle gives the city an "insurance policy," particularly for securing an NBA team. 

"Having both Seattle Center and SoDo as viable options for potential NBA team owners would send a powerful message to the NBA, that not only is Seattle the best available market, but we also understand what an NBA team requires to be successful," the letter, dated Jan. 30, stated. 

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The letter cited an ESPN article that points out the city may need a second new arena with the intent of having an NBA team as the main tenant in order to outbid other markets. 

Chris Hansen, the leader of the investment team, Wally Walker, Erik Nordstrom, Pete Nordstrom, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson all signed the letter.

Hansen has been in a tug-of-war with the city for years. Since 2011, he has tried to build a new sports arena and acquire an NBA team. However, he was rebuffed by the Seattle City Council in an effort to seek the elimination of a one-block stretch of Occidental Avenue South. The city has since signed an agreement to build a new arena at Seattle Center. 

The SODO group submitted a revised application for a conditional vacation of a one-block stretch of Occidental Avenue South in 2017. In April of that year, the city's design commission approved the design and public benefit of the proposal.

The National Hockey League awarded Seattle an expansion team that is slated to begin playing in 2021. The approval came after necessary components fell into place, including committed ownership, a thriving market, state-of-the-art venue (which will replace KeyArena), and a high interest from fans

However, there is no word on when or if the city will secure an NBA team. 

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