Despite the renovation of KeyArena, Chris Hansen isn't giving up his fight for a second arena in SoDo.
Thursday night he rallied support with community groups on Beacon Hill. This is the first time Hansen has spoken publicly since the city of Seattle and The Oak View Group reached a memorandum of understanding to renovate KeyArena. OVG, which has already sold 33,000 NHL ticket deposits, hopes to have a decision from the NHL by June.
“OVG group is building an arena for hockey. We want to build an arena for basketball,” said Hansen at El Centro de la Raza.
El Centro and the local NAACP chapter organized the event. It focused on the jobs that could be created by a SoDo Arena.
“We want to meet directly with the people that’s investing the money, rather than let the politicians do for us,” said Gerald Hankerson, President of the Seattle King County NAACP.
A flyer for the event stated:
“The proposed arena in Seattle’s Stadium District would provide access to jobs, sustainable economic development, youth resources, public programs, and cultural assets that would benefit South Seattle communities.”
Hansen touted his South Seattle childhood.
“When I go back to where I grew up it’s like, ‘When are the Sonics coming back?’ That’s only thing I ever here give me an update what’s going on,” he said.
Hansen, who owns 13 acres in SoDo, says his ownership group will once again ask the city to vacate one block of Occidental Avenue.
“It’s the last thing that we need. The only thing standing in our way to have this area project shovel-ready,” he said. “Hopefully that occurs in the next three to four months.”
The Seattle City Council voted down the proposal two years ago, but Hanson and his group believe they've made the necessary tweaks — including a privately financed project.
“I’ve been at it for seven years I’m a very patient person. I’m going to be at it as long as it takes," said Hansen, "My job is to do everything possible to help bring a basketball team back here.”