Will Seattle see the return of the NBA and perhaps an NHL team in the near future? Sonics fans hope so. The possibility became closer to reality today.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and investor Chris Hansen announced to media and cheering Sonics fans details of  a memorandum of understanding with the Seattle City and King County Councils May 16. This memorandum would finance a new, $490 million sports arena in Seattle's Sodo District. That area is already home to the Mariners' Safeco Field and the Seahawks' Centurylink Field.

Constantine said "It's time to put the ball in play."

The public investment, capped at $200 million in bonds to be repaid through arena taxes and revenues, would be limited to $120 million if an NBA team is secured first. The remainder would be added once an NHL team signs on.

Once both teams are secured, Seattle's  investment would be $120 million, and King County’s $80 million. Until an NHL team signs on, Seattle's obligation would be $115 million and King County’s would be $5 million, because the city would receive more of the revenue.

The Mariners and the Port of Seattle  have raised concerns about increased traffic in the area. Hansen said an area traffic study he’s paying for likely would be done in the near future.

Before they were moved to Oklahoma City over three years ago, the Seattle Sonics had been an NBA franchise playing in Seattle since 1967. Newstalk KIT was a original member of the Supersonics radio network.

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