Updated Jun 13, 2012 - 11:31 am
Microsoft CEO Ballmer, Nordstroms part of Seattle arena investment group
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Ballmer's inclusion in the investment group was revealed on Wednesday morning in a letter sent from Hansen to King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
In an appearance on 97.3 KIRO FM's Ross and Burbank Show Wednesday, Constantine said he is "thrilled" with the development.
"I am thrilled that Steve Ballmer and the Nordstroms have stepped up to participate with Chris Hansen," said Constantine. "Even if Chris Hansen is still a bit of an enigma for the citizens of this region, they all know Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family very well, and I think it speaks volumes about Chris Hansen's proposal."
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn recognized Ballmer and the Nordstroms as well-known civic leaders in our region.
"Their financial and public support for a new multi-purpose arena in our Stadium District adds to Chris Hansen's serious commitment to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our city," said McGinn.
That Ballmer is part of the investment group is not a surprise. Ballmer is a longtime basketball fan and was part of a group that made a last-ditch effort to try to keep the SuperSonics in Seattle prior to their move to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2008.
Also part of the investment group are members of the Nordstrom family: Erik and Peter.
"I am very excited to be a part of Chris' group. The Sonics were a great part of this community for over 40 years," said Erik Nordstrom. "I think getting an NBA team back in Seattle is a terrific opportunity to add another asset to our city and contribute to why this is such a wonderful place to live."
Hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen introduced the proposal for a new $490 million basketball arena in the SoDo area earlier this year.
"These three gentlemen, like me, are committed to operating the arena and NBA franchise in a way that represents and upholds the values of our community," said Hansen in his letter. "Their participation in the ownership group brings added assurances the business will always be backed by strong local hands and reinforces my commitment that the team will never again leave Seattle."
Hansen's push includes a large public rally in downtown Seattle on Thursday afternoon featuring former Sonics stars Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow KIRO Radio Staff, Staff report
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