Report: SoDo arena group, NAACP rumored to be meeting in May
Comments from a former Seattle sports reporter have had many wondering if efforts to revive the SoDo arena project are underway in Seattle.
“Seattle is having a meeting to try to bring back the Sonics,” Los Angeles News Observer Cameron Buford cryptically said during a postgame question for Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant on Friday night.
Buford was referring to a meeting said to be taking place at the Washington State Labor Council building in Seattle on May 13, rumored to be attended by local entrepreneur Chris Hansen, his SoDo arena investment group, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and members of the local NAACP.
That said, officials in Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office and an NBA spokesman both confirmed to The Seattle Times that they had no prior knowledge of the meeting.
Additionally, a representative with the WSLC reached out Wednesday, saying that “no such meeting is happening” at its office.
“There is a meeting here that night, but it is not the NAACP and has nothing to do with the Sonics,” he said.
Buford — from Seattle, but now residing in Los Angeles — says he was originally told about it by an executive committee member with the local NAACP. The group is rumored to be working with Hansen to aid in the sale of part of Occidental Avenue, the street Hansen’s group needs to build its proposed arena.
Seattle City Council had originally decided not to sell that portion of Occidental to Hansen in a narrow 5-4 vote, almost three years ago.
According to the Times, the NAACP is now arranging this May 13 meeting to continue pushing for the sale on behalf of Hansen’s investment group.
This isn’t the first time that Chris Hansen and his group have made their voices heard in recent months, either.
Back in January, Hansen, Russell Wilson, and a group of local Seattle investors issued a letter to Mayor Durkan and the city council, calling for “an alternative arena option in SoDo.”
The message for Hansen’s group since then has been simple: That a second Seattle arena could entice the NBA into finally bringing a team back to Washington, following the now-infamous series of events that saw the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City.
Durant — one of the last remaining members of the Sonics still playing today — has been leading a similar push of his own.
“Since we left, I’ve been screaming that a team needs to go (to Seattle),” he told Buford.
Hansen has yet to respond publicly to rumors of the May 13 meeting.