Seattle arena investor Chris Hansen is nowhere near giving upon July 20, 2012 @ 10:59 am (Updated: 5:48 pm - 7/20/12 )
Chris Hansen joins 97.3 KIRO FM's Dori Monson in the studio Friday, July 20, 2012. (MyNorthwest.com/Alyssa Kleven)
About 500 people showed up to a public hearing Thursday night in front of the Seattle City Council and King County Council, mostly in support of a new arena in Seattle.
Even if the majority of attendees hated the idea, arena investor Chris Hansen said it wouldn't matter.
He has no intention of giving up on bringing the NBA back to Seattle. Unless, of course, the councils tell him there's no way it's going to happen.
"I'm a really, really patient person and when I say I think it's inevitable that we're going to have a new franchise here, I really mean that," Hansen told the Dori Monson Show on Friday.
But that doesn't mean you should plant your camping chair along a parade route anytime soon. Hansen, who wouldn't indulge Dori in any secrets, repeats what we already knew. NBA commissioner David Stern will not let a team relocate to Seattle until the shovels are ready to go in the ground.
While he said he's a patient guy who doesn't negotiate by drawing lines in the sand, Hansen said he does get frustrated. It's not over the philosophical differences about public money going into any art or private enterprise.
"There's nothing that I can do to argue that...I respect that, honestly."
What irks him is people with a major platform who are getting the facts wrong.
"People have claimed things like we're going to make a profit on the land. That's just somebody who didn't read the MOU thoroughly enough," said Hansen. "People keep making unsubstantiated claims to support their position like we're up to something dastardly here. Like there's some trick plan to deceive everybody and make a boat load of money on this."
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but Hansen just asks that you get the facts straight if you're making claims on a platform.
It might seem like there have been a dozen council meetings we're all tired of hearing about, but Hansen seems to be very understanding of the weight on the shoulders of the councilmembers.
"They're elected officials. They represent all Seattle citizens. They're trying to sit back and weigh the information. This is difficult for them to read through the MOU. They want to try to make everybody happy, which is probably impossible."
Hansen keeps hearing about the traffic and the decision to build an arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood, but he said there are some simple answers to the issues. If you're worried about traffic, he suggested taking a drive down there yourself before and after a Mariners game. As for finding a better place for a team, Hansen claimed SoDo is the best bet for its easy ferry access, two rail systems, and plenty of free parking after hours.
He's not interested in Bellevue at this point.
"This is their (Seattle's) history and their legacy, and I think it belongs here. If it can't work here, then I think other communities should have a shot at it."
For a guy who has been dreaming of owning a team since he realized he couldn't play on one, walking away in frustration is not something Hansen has even thought about.
Just ask the Ackerleys or Howard Schultz, who long ago received letters from Hansen letting them know he's coming after their team.
By Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com
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