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Chris Hansen’s group offers to redevelop Seattle’s KeyArena

An areial rendering of a redeveloped KeyArena as a flexible music venue with three theaters. (Sonics Arena Group)
LISTEN: Wally Walker talks about the benefits of redeveloping KeyArena

Chris Hansen and his group of investors are offering to revamp KeyArena after building the SoDo Arena, but the City of Seattle has already responded by essentially saying too late.

The City wrote:

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.

The City says it’s working with the Oak View Group on a Memorandum of Understanding and plans to submit the MOU to the City Council shortly.

The RFP deadline was April 12, 2017.

“We believe our creative, privately financed proposal offers an ideal solution that ensures the continued vibrancy of the Seattle Center, while minimizing the negative impacts on the surrounding residents, businesses, and stakeholders,” the Sonics Arena Group wrote on its website.

The proposal includes a 6,200-seat indoor concert venue on one side and 3,000-seat outdoor amphitheater. They would also raise the floor and add over 500 permanent parking stalls for events. The Sonics Arena Group believes it would help reduce traffic and transportation impacts in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood.

“We felt compelled to offer an alternative solution that we believe better meets the needs of the City, the Seattle Center, the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood and prospective professional sports’ tenants.”

Under this proposal, the result would be three arenas — The SoDo Sports Arena, The Seattle Center Concert Venue, and The Seattle Center Amphitheater — which the Sonics Arena Group believes would be a better option than a “single, site-challenged sports venue at KeyArena.”

Hansen’s group promised to privately finance “all construction costs, ongoing capital improvement costs, and cost overruns.”

They say there should be a temporary waiver of admissions taxes on the arena if the NBA or NHL plays at the new KeyArena while the SoDo Arena is under construction.

Arena investor Wally Walker told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson said their goal is to keep talking about the issue and explaining the benefits of their plan to taxpayers. He believes this plan will be hard for local politicians to ignore.

“If they’re really open minded and don’t have another agenda other than what’s best for the city, the taxpayers and for attracting the NBA and NHL, and now for the music business and industry as well,” he said.

Another investor, Russell Wilson, is thrilled about the latest in what’s becoming a battle to bring back the NBA.

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