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Chris Hansen: I don’t think Ed Murray was ever on board

Chris Hansen. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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As the Seattle City Council mulls over a renovation plan for KeyArena, the private investor who wanted to build a new SoDo arena laments on the political climate of the city.

Hansen: Arena bids should be nitpicked like SoDo plan

“Most things like this end up being political issues,” Chris Hansen told AM 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz.

As for former Mayor Ed Murray: “Ed, I don’t think he was ever on board. I will leave others to speculate exactly why; I think some of it probably has to do with some resentment toward [former] Mayor McGinn and some animosity that existed there and we were kind of the unfortunate collateral damage of that.”

Hansen and his investment group were, eventually, willing to fund a new SoDo arena 100 percent. When the city requested proposals for renovating or demolishing and rebuilding KeyArena, Hansen offered to revamp the aging structure after building a SoDo arena.

“If you look at our KeyArena plan, he didn’t want to hear any of that,” Hansen said of Murray. “He was focused on directing it the way he wanted to go.”

The SoDo group received this response:

Oak View Group’s proposal was the strongest of the two, so they were selected. If the SoDo Arena Group was interested in redeveloping KeyArena, they should have submitted their proposal during the RFP process, which would have shown a willingness to work with the City on this project. They did not submit a proposal and continue to show no interest in working in partnership with the City.

Oak View Group offered a deal to the city that would double the size of the facility, meeting NBA, and NHL standards. The investment group would have a minimum of 39 years on the city-owned land with full rights to all future events in the arena. The city council must approve the plan before the group can begin an environmental impact statement or construction on the $600 million project.

The council is holding a series of meetings before a Dec. 4 vote — the day after the expiration of the SoDo agreement.

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