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Arena investor doesn't want to root for other NBA franchises to fail

By MyNorthwest.com Staff

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A possible location of a new NBA and NHL arena appears south of the Safeco Field parking garage on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Seattle. Since Hansen entered the picture, Seattleites' dreams of bringing back the NBA have seemed like they're in reach. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)

"Everyone would agree that an NBA team belongs in this market," says arena investor Chris Hansen, "and it's really just a question of timing."

Since Hansen entered the picture, basketball fans' dreams of the NBA returning have seemed like they're in reach.

But Hansen told 710 ESPN's Kevin Calabro Show that we shouldn't be waiting, or excited for another franchise to fail for our benefit.

Because of the way everything went down when the SuperSonics left Seattle, Hansen says, he doesn't think it's appropriate for us to comment on other fans' teams.

That didn't stop basketball fans from very carefully following the Sacramento Kings and their effort to try and gain enough finances to stay in their city.

"At the end of the day, we should be the last ones rooting for other people's franchises to fail," Hansen says. "My job is just to get an arena deal in Seattle and for us to just be standing there and ready when the next opportunity comes."

The Seattle native is proposing $290 million in private investment toward the construction of a new arena that would cost between $450 and $500 million. Hansen's group would also be responsible for the purchase of an NBA franchise and finding a partner interested in bringing an NHL franchise to Seattle.

The public financing component of the proposal would be capped at $200 million. Hansen says he wouldn't be the owner of the NHL franchise.

The plan represents the first significant step toward solving the arena problem that was behind the SuperSonics' decision to move to Oklahoma City following the 2007-2008 NBA season after 41 years in Seattle.

The plan is now before a review board – a group of community leaders that includes one-time SuperSonics player and coach Lenny Wilkens. City and county officials have said they want the review finished within a month.

"In Chris Hansen, we have a dedicated private investor who wishes to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our city," Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has said.

"Seattle is a great city and a great market," Hansen says. "There is no reason why we shouldn't have a team."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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