Could we see Sonics team play in Seattle again?

Plans for a new $500 million arena that would be built south of Safeco Field were announced today at a news conference in Seattle. Will it become a reality?Speculation about a new, self-funded NBA and NHL arena in Seattle in the city’s SoDo neighborhood, funded privately and publicly by tax revenue on the arena development and the professional teams that would call it home, has been getting hotter in recent weeks.

Nick Eaton of Seattle covered the story this afternoon:

The plan was spearheaded by Seattle-born investor Chris Hansen, who with his investment group is planning to purchase an NBA franchise and bring it to Seattle. He also is searching for a partner to bring an NHL team to Seattle.

Under the plan, which must still go through a newly appointed city and county panel, any teams at the new arena would be bound to stay in Seattle for 30 years. That means there could be no repeat of the Sonics fiasco for at least 30 years.

The proposed arena would take two years to construct and would be located south of the Safeco Field parking garage, where Hansen already owns a three-acre chunk of land. Several businesses would need to be relocated and several buildings would need to be demolished. The facility would be jointly owned by the city of Seattle and King County, and available for additional recreational and cultural events.


No public money would be committed to the arena until NBA and NHL franchises have been secured for Seattle. Hansen also would not commit his money until he has secured a team. So, there will be no new arena until Seattle has a new team.

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who also owns the NBA's  Portland Trailblazers issued the following statement this afternoon:

It was a sad day when the Sonics left Seattle, a move I opposed. It’s exciting to think about the NBA coming back to Seattle and renewing the rivalry with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, it is too early for me to comment any further without a specific plan or proposal to review.

Possible next door neighbors, the Seattle Mariners, issued a statement as well:

The Seattle Mariners are excited about this afternoon’s announcement and the possibility of having NBA and NHL teams coming to the Seattle area.   From our perspective, it is all about the fans and the community.  We aren’t familiar with the details, but are ready to participate in the public process to make this a “win” for the fans and to realize the many potential benefits for the region.  It is too early for us to make any further comments.


This definitely bears watching in the future.