If the Sonics return to Seattle this fall, the team will make KeyArena its temporary home, and investor Chris Hansen wants to run the operation there.
City councilmembers were briefed Monday on developments and progress on a new arena and preparing a temporary home, if the Sacramento Kings are relocated to Seattle. The NBA team would play in the city-owned KeyArena for up to three years.
“Right now, we’re beginning the discussion about the terms for using KeyArena,” city council central staffer Dan Eder told councilmembers. “All options are on the table [and] Mr. Hansen is interested in controlling all operations at KeyArena.”
Hansen’s agreement with Seattle and King County includes at least $7 million for improvements to the Seattle Center building.
KeyArena is the home floor for the Seattle Storm and Seattle University Redhawks and discussions with those tenants are already underway to reserve dates for use by the Sonics in the 2013-2014 NBA season.
The issue of alternate sites for a new basketball arena in Seattle remains a topic of concern for some city councilmembers. Sally Bagshaw insisted she supports bringing the Sonics back but she noticed that an economic impact statement is limited to potential SoDo and Seattle Center sites.
“We aren’t necessarily looking at the next question, which is, is there a better place or other place in the city that would have even a better economic impact for us?”
Councilmembers were told that city staff is working on what specific information will go into an Environmental Impact Statement. A draft version is due in June and a final EIS should be ready in November.
Hansen has purchased significant amounts of land in Sodo, and has reached an agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings with the team’s majority owners, and is applying for relocation to Seattle. A vote by NBA owners on the sale and purchase, plus relocation, is expected in April.