King County Council hears from outside panel about arena plan

July 12, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. July 12, 2012

The outside panel tasked to advise the King County Council about a $490 million arena proposal outlined possible risks and benefits related to the project in a committee meeting Thursday.

The group of experts and the council Budget and Fiscal Management Committee met to discuss the proposal to build a sports and entertainment arena in Seattle near Safeco Field.

The outside panel is comprised of members versed in economics, public finance, public-private partnerships, labor, urban development and transportation.

During the presentation to the committee, Bill Beyers, a University of Washington geography professor, argued for the importance of a complete economic impact study.

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Councilman calls for economic analysis of arena proposal

July 11, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. July 11, 2012

King County Councilman Bob Ferguson called for a detailed and independent analysis to determine the proposed Seattle arena’s impact on jobs and the economy.

Ferguson intends to propose amending the agreement under consider to require the analysis after the King County Council and the Seattle City Council approve the pact for the arena. The study is meant to occur in the review and permitting stages, and before public financing is issued for the project.

In May, King County and Seattle leaders, joined by investor Chris Hansen, proposed a $490 million sports and entertainment arena near Safeco Field.

“The development of an NBA and NHL arena has the potential to impact important segments of our economy, including construction, tourism and maritime industries,” Ferguson said in a statement. “We must take an independent look to evaluate the impacts — positive and negative — on the region’s economy.”

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King County councilman asks prosecutor to review arena legal costs

July 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called Monday for the King County prosecutor to investigate legal costs involved in reviewing a proposed agreement to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

In a letter to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, von Reichbauer said the review is meant to help the councilman evaluate the proposal by understanding the number of hours attorneys in the prosecutor’s office spent reviewing the agreement and the cost of review.

In addition, von Reichbauer asked Satterberg to determine how much the county has spent so far on outside attorneys to assist in the review, and how much the office expects to spend on outside attorneys in the next 30 days.

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Leaders host public meeting on Seattle arena proposal

July 3, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. July 3, 2012

Citizens can ask questions about a proposed Seattle arena — and the potential impact on King County taxpayers — at a meeting hosted by Seattle City Council and King County Council members.

The forum is scheduled for 7-8 p.m. July 10 at North Seattle Community College cafeteria. The event is in the College Center Building, 9600 College Way N.

The meeting is hosted by King County Councilman Bob Ferguson and Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien.

“The proposed arena is an important issue currently before the county and city councils. This meeting will give community members the opportunity to ask questions, express their thoughts and know their voices are being heard,” Ferguson said in a statement. “As an elected official, I believe it is important to meet with and hear directly from the public and the people I represent.”

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Microsoft, Nordstrom execs invest in arena proposal

June 26, 2012

The investment group for a proposed Seattle arena — a linchpin in the plan to bring professional basketball and hockey franchises to the region — includes top executives at Microsoft and Nordstrom, officials announced June 13.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nordstrom executives Peter and Erik Nordstrom add strength and credibility to the proposal.

“These backers are pillars of our local community whose reputations precede them,” Constantine said in a statement. “The people of King County know that these local leaders are committed to bringing the NBA and NHL to this region.”

In February, investor Christopher Hansen presented to Seattle and King County a proposal to construct an arena to host NBA and NHL teams.

Hansen, Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, announced a proposed agreement last month.

The amount of public support for the arena is capped at $120 million if organizers secure only the basketball franchise. The total could rise to $200 million if a hockey team is added to the equation.

King County councilman calls for vote on arena proposal

June 22, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 22, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called for the Seattle arena proposal to go before voters as the $490 million project proceeds.

The announcement came Tuesday as arena investor Chris Hansen answered questions for the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. Members asked about the proposed arena size, why the arena plan must be agreed to before a basketball or hockey team is purchased, ticket costs for county residents, and — if public financing is needed — Hansen’s willingness to put the proposal to King County voters.

“Chris Hansen’s personal passion for basketball and his commitment to bringing back the Sonics makes him the best advocate for this arena proposal,” von Reichbauer said in a statement issued after the meeting. “My job is to be the best advocate for the taxpayers of South King County and enable them to express their views on the matter by providing the opportunity to vote on the proposal to build this third arena in the Sodo area.”

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Arena backer to testify before King County Council committee

June 18, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 18, 2012

Chris Hansen, the investor behind a proposal to construct a sports and entertainment arena in Seattle is due to answer questions for the King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee on Tuesday.

The appearance is the initial meeting between Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, and the council. Though the budget committee does not include all nine council members, every council members has been invited to attend.

Citizens can attend the meeting at 1:30 p.m. in the 10th-floor County Council Chambers at the King County Courthouse or watch the meeting live online, on King County TV, Comcast and Broadstripe Channel 22.

The committee is also due to meet the outside panel advising the council on the arena proposal. The members include experts in economics, public finance, public-private partnerships, labor, urban development and transportation.

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Microsoft, Nordstorm executives invest in arena proposal

June 15, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 15, 2012

The investment group for a proposed Seattle arena — a linchpin in the plan to bring professional basketball and hockey franchises to the region — includes top executives at Microsoft and Nordstrom.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nordstrom executives Peter and Erik Nordstrom add strength and credibility to the proposal.

“These backers are pillars of our local community whose reputations precede them,” Constantine said in a statement. “The people of King County know that these local leaders are committed to bringing the NBA and NHL to this region.”

In February, investor Christopher Hansen presented to Seattle and King County a proposal to construct the arena to host NBA and NHL teams.

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Outside panel to advise King County Council on arena proposal

June 12, 2012

King County Council members tapped a panel of experts to guide the council and offer independent analysis as officials review a proposal to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

Council Budget and Fiscal Management Committee members held the initial hearing on the arena proposal May 29. The committee discussed the timeline for arena construction and possible costs to taxpayers, in addition to the terms outlined in the proposal.

The outside panel is comprised of members versed in economics, public finance, public-private partnerships, labor, urban development and transportation.

The members include Justin Marlowe, a professor at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs; urban developer Steve Orser; UW geography professor Bill Beyers; economist Dick Conway; Tracey Thompson, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 117; Charlie Howard, transportation planning director for the Puget Sound Regional Council; and former state Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald.

The amount of public support for the arena is capped at $120 million if organizers secure only the basketball franchise. The total could rise to $200 million if a hockey team is added to the equation.

Press Editorial

May 29, 2012

Take a hard look at arena deal

This area has a long history of skepticism when it comes to building sports facilities. Let’s put that attitude to good use when reviewing the proposal for a new basketball — and possibly hockey — arena in Seattle.

Though it may seem like a Seattle problem, the arena will have an impact here on the Eastside. In direct terms, the county is on the hook for up to $80 million, if certain conditions are met.

Where is this big chunk of money supposed to come from? Aren’t they about to ask us for a bond to build a juvenile justice center? Why is there money for a glorified basketball court, but not a justice center?

A possibly large, indirect impact on the Eastside could be the effect of the arena on freight mobility.

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