Seattle City Council approves arena legislation

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Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Mike O’Brien

Seattle City Council approves arena legislation
Revised agreement preserves jobs and protects public investment

Seattle – The Seattle City Council voted 6-2 today to approve a revised agreement with private investor Chris Hansen for a new sports and entertainment arena (Council Bill 117480). The final version of the bill includes technical amendments discussed over the past ten days with the King County Council.

"Council staff, lawyers and councilmembers have worked hard to produce an agreement that protects the city, charts the right site review process and secures appropriate public benefits," said Council President Sally J. Clark. "Today’s vote closes one phase of tasks and begins another, including work on how we plan for a bright future at Seattle Center."

The final agreement approved by the City Council expands public benefits in the proposal through dedicated funds for transportation projects and Key Arena. It also strengthens the legal and financial protections afforded to the City and County, including a personal financial guaranty from Hansen.

"The Council’s action today allows us to move forward on the processes laid out in this agreement," said Councilmember Tim Burgess, chair of the Council committee that reviewed the agreement. "Working together, we can improve freight mobility, protect maritime and industrial jobs, bring a new source of economic and cultural activity to our city and ensure a healthy future for the Seattle Center."

"The financial protections in place for Seattle and our taxpayers make this a great deal for non-sports fans and fans alike, and I applaud everyone involved for coming together to work out a winning solution for all parties," said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. "I think this deal sets a new standard for public-private partnerships in projects like this around the country."

"The terms of this agreement reflect our commitment to taxpayers’ financial security, the well-being and viability of the Seattle Center, and the need for freight and traffic to move smoothly and reliably," said Councilmember Jean Godden. "This is a significant milestone in the journey to bring the NBA back to Seattle."

 "This new, forward-thinking agreement is a culmination of the hundreds of thousands of devoted Sonics fans working to bring back the Sonics," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. "I applaud Mr. Hansen for his unquestionable commitment to Seattle and his pragmatic approach in negotiating with the City and conversing with all regional stakeholders for the strongest public/private deal in the country. The green and yellow are on their way back home and I look forward to hearing Kevin Calabro call out—flying chickens in the barnyard—once again."

"Throughout this process I’ve been asking a lot of questions," said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. "I’m ready to move the process forward, remembering that concerns from our industries, taxpayers, Seattle Center and about environment impacts must be addressed before the documents are finalized."

The Mayor submitted legislation with agreements between the City, King County and Mr. Hansen’s ArenaCo to the City Council on May 18. The Council spent two months reviewing the proposal and gathering input from members of the public. On July 30, eight Councilmembers sent a letter to Hansen outlining areas of concern in the proposal and stating a desire to reach a positive agreement.

The legislation includes two documents: a memorandum of understanding between the City of Seattle, King County and private investor Chris Hansen and an interlocal agreement between the City and County.

The following documents contain more information on the revised agreement:

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