LOCAL NEWS

Voice of Sonics: Seattle council decision sets back NBA 60 months

May 2, 2016, 4:26 PM | Updated: May 3, 2016, 1:22 pm

The Seattle City Council voted 5-4 against vacating a street in SoDo to build a new sports arena, a major setback to any chances of bringing the NBA back to Seattle.

In April, a City Council committee approved vacating a one-block section of Occidental Avenue South, leaving the possibility open to build an NBA and NHL arena in Seattle. On Monday, the full council debated the merits of allowing arena investor Chris Hansen to buy and vacate the land so that the developer could build a home base for the Sonics.

This was the last major step before the City of Seattle could issue a Master Use Permit for the arena project. Vacating the street would have given Hansen a five-year window to find an NBA team for Seattle.

Related: O’Neil: No plausible scenario for NHL or NBA to return to KeyArena

710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil said Tuesday on Seattle’s Morning News that he isn’t sure what the vote truly means for the future of this project, but it’s definitely not good.

“It’s certainly a significant blow,” he said. “My opinion is this was already a longshot project at this point, that they were going to land an NBA team or start building with all private money. I did not think that the likelihood of this resulting in an arena or teams was very high. At the same time I was still surprised that the decision was made in many ways by the city council to pull the plug now.

“This was basically, in some respects, a debate over the sleeves on a vest,” O’Neil added. “There wasn’t going to be a team on the horizon that was coming here and they may have extinguished, not a real arena plan but a theoretical arena plan.”

On Monday, council members, including Sally Bagshaw and Debora Juarez, noted the importance of supporting the Port of Seattle, rather than the unknown future that comes with a third arena. Kshama Sawant said she hated voting jobs vs. jobs, but that she couldn’t get past the threat of undermining working-class, waterfront jobs.

The vote was split along gender lines, with council members Sawant, Juarez, Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold and Lorena Gonzalez voting no; Tim Burgess, Mike O’Brien, Bruce Harrel and Rob Johnson voted yes.

The Sustainability and Transportation Committee had debated for months over whether to vacate Occidental Avenue south of Safeco Field before voting 4-1 in favor of vacating the street.

The Port of Seattle, the Seattle Mariners and other businesses have been critical of the plan because of the extra traffic they say it would add.

Hansen released the following statement on his blog Monday:

Today’s City Council vote was disappointing but we don’t believe it is the end of the road in our quest to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle. We know all the fans who have stood solidly by us these past years share our disappointment but it is important that we all stay focused on our shared goal. We now need to take a little time to step back and evaluate our options, better understand the council’s concerns and find a path forward. We will keep you posted.

Mayor Ed Murray weighed in on social media Tuesday, saying he remains committed to exploring all options to bring a new to Seattle.

Kevin Calabro, the longtime voice of the Sonics, tweeted: “Wish I could say I’m shocked. I’m not. Interested now on what the plan is moving forward. Imo this sets NBA back at least 60 months.”


KIRO 7 contributed to this story.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Local News

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

Mayor’s search for permanent Police Chief looms over Seattle amid depleting law enforcement numbers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently consulted with a hiring firm as the decision to choose the next Chief of Police heats up.
2 days ago
Seattle Sun...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Sunny skies, warm temperatures forecast for western Washington this weekend

Sunny skies and warm temperatures are forecast for much of western Washington, with some areas expected to reach temps in the 70s.
2 days ago
Student STEM...
Nicole Jennings

From athletes to mathletes: STEM Signing Day shines light on WA scholars

STEM Signing Day gives stellar science, technology, engineering, and math scholars a chance to shine in the same way as high school athletes.
2 days ago
Prison 900x506...
MyNorthwest Staff

Governor Inslee cancels parole determination for triple murderer

Governor Inslee has cancelled an order that granted parole to Timothy Pauley, who had been incarcerated for three counts of first degree murder in 1981.
2 days ago
revive I-5...
MyNorthwest Staff

Revive I-5, Montlake Bridge closure will cause traffic issues this weekend

The sunny forecast will put Seattleites in a great mood this weekend, but the traffic won't thanks to repairs to I-5 and the Montlake Bridge.
2 days ago
Police follow protesters as they move through the city during racial justice protests on November 3...
Hanna Scott

Report on 2020 protests recommends new training for SPD, debunks “mob psychology”

SPD’s approach to the 2020 protests underutilized de-escalation through dialogue and relied on indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Voice of Sonics: Seattle council decision sets back NBA 60 months