Saturday, December 10, 2011

Seattle Times: News: City approached about basketball arena near Safeco Field

Seattle city officials have been approached by a private group looking to build a basketball arena in the Sodo District near Safeco Field in the hopes of attracting an NBA franchise, according to two sources who have been briefed on the talks.
. . .
McGinn's office confirmed Friday night that it is examining an "opportunity," but declined to provide specific information.
. . .
"Our office has had many enthusiastic overtures concerning the return of an NBA franchise to Seattle," the statement said. "Some of these offers have been serious. Some have not been serious. And the current speculation is over one of these proposals. We are looking at this opportunity, examining its specifics and how it fits our city. At this point, we have not received a concrete offer."

The statement added: "When we do reach that point, the City Council will be our first step in moving forward and then there will be an open process to evaluate that offer before we move forward. We would welcome a serious commitment from the NBA to re-establish a franchise with responsible ownership, to our community."
. . .
The group behind the Sodo effort is separate from a recently publicized campaign being led by longtime Sonics fan Brian Robinson and his organization, Arena Solution, to secure a new arena and an NBA team.

Among those involved in the Sodo plan is Wally Walker, the former Seattle Sonics player and team executive, the sources said. . .
Seattle Times: News: City approached about basketball arena near Safeco Field

The effort lead by Brian Robinson is a much broader effort, uses a different approach, and isn't actually in competition with the SODO effort.

The television report last Thursday was accurate:
“Everywhere I go people want it.  If you talk to contractors, plumbers, electricians, they want it. If you go to the Bellevue Athletic Club, people want it.  If you go to Rainier Beach HS, people want it.”

The group “Arena Solution” – which he calls a “group of people who want to talk about solving this critical problem” - lists an impressive collection of names.  Former Sonics CEO Bob Whitsitt and local developer Craig Kinzer are part of the group.

“There are a number of people both private and public trying to make this work,” says Kinzer, who helped broker the deal for Benaroya Hall, Safeco Field, and the Children’s Hospital expansion, among others. 
“Let’s make this more transparent,” says the CEO of Kinzer Real Estate Services.  “We’re much further along than people realize.”

Kinzer, also a former Sonics minority owner, says there are “three or four” spots which have been seriously considered for an arena. 
“I’m helping (Arena Solution) talk with all the jurisdictions and let them each know the things they can do.” Group of civic, business leaders attempt 'Arena Solution'

The facts are, there is more than 1 group interested in building an arena, more than 1 site is a prospective site. What is attempting to do is to perform a civic action, how can they help make an arena happen? Reaching out to these different groups and people isn't quite the same as leading a group of potential team owners that want to figure out an arena solution for their specific purposes. is interested in working with any and all potential owners of teams, facilities, leaders public and private.

I support the efforts of

The more, the merrier.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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