Seattle Takes Bold Step Forward to Lure NBA Franchise - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Seattle Takes Bold Step Forward to Lure NBA Franchise

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The City of Seattle, King County and investor Chris Hanson came together Wednesday to announce they have reached an agreement to move forward with plans to lure an NBA and franchise back to the Emerald City.

A memorandum of understanding, which includes unprecedented protection for taxpayers, now must go before the City Council and the King County Council for approval.

"The sooner we can get this done, the sooner we can go out and bid on a franchise," said Hansen in a news conference.

The agreement commits up to $800 million in private investment funds to build a new 18,500-seatstadium in the SoDo district of Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn said no taxpayer money would be used to build the facility.

"Up to $800 million of private capital is one of the largest commitments every made for a project like this in North America," boasted McGinn.

The memorandum provides the following protections for taxpayers:

- protections to the City/County general funds
- no new taxes to fund construction or operation
- the arena would be self-financed through taxes on the operation of the team and arena itself
- non-relocation agreements with potential NBA, NHL teams
- a security reserve fund
 - private investors would be responsible for any cost overruns, including any capital improvement funds
- no City/County funds would be committed until a contract is secured (NBA) and all the necessary permits are given.

The city's and county's investment in the project would be capped at $200 million ($120 million if only an NBA team is acquired).
     


Previous coverage:

SEATTLE - King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn have called a Wednesday news conference to announce a financing agreement with Chris Hansen who hopes to build a new arena to bring NBA and NHL teams to the city.

The arena would be built near the Mariners' Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field where the Seahawks and Sounders play.

The county and city councils will be asked to review the agreement in coming weeks.

Previously, Hansen has proposed a new arena that would cost between $450 and $500 million and would include $290 million in private investment. Hansen's group would be responsible for the purchase of an NBA franchise and finding a partner interested in bringing an NHL franchise to Seattle.

Information from: KOMO-TV, http://www.komotv.com/  

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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