Seattle City Council Agrees to Deal to Build New NBA Arena

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2017

The SuperSonics could soon be returning to Seattle.

According to an Associated Press report (via ESPN), the Seattle City Council approved a $490 million arena on Tuesday that would be usable for both NBA and NHL franchises.

This latest plan would reportedly use $200 million in public funding, with various parties covering the rest. Seattle-area investor Chris Hansen would serve as the primary investor.

It’s a huge step toward reviving the Sonics, as these latest proposals address a number of issues that originally concerned the council.

The deal includes a $40 million fund for transportation infrastructure, a guarantee that Hansen will pay for the arena if revenue isn’t as projected and even a clause that the investor may have to purchase the new arena after 30 years.

A committee will review the proposal, and the council will assemble for a full vote on Friday.

Should this plan pass, it’s great news for Seattle basketball fans.

Ever since the Sonics were kidnapped by Clay Bennett and moved to Oklahoma City to be rebranded the Thunder, the city and its residents have been working on bringing professional basketball back to town.

Key Arena—the building where the Sonics played from 1967 to 1978, 1985 to 1994 and 1995 to 2008—was deemed inadequate to serve an NBA team by commissioner David Stern and Bennett, the owner of the Thunder.

There are no plans to demolish the old arena, and the current proposal actually has measures in place for investors to revive the building in the event the NBA grants the city a franchise before the new project is completed.

It’s going to be a long and arduous task for the city to regain its beloved basketball team, but the framework is in place, and a new arena would go a long way toward convincing the league that Seattle is once again an ideal destination for a franchise.