What could the future hold for Key Arena?
Last week was a busy one for potential Seattle NBA/NHL arenas. After Chris Hansen stated that he’ll pay for a $500M+ new Sodo arena with private funding, Mayor Ed Murray told The Seattle Times that LA-based Oak View Group has expressed interest in Key Arena. In addition, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), an arena builder and manager for Key Arena marketing, appears open to a renovation of the Key.
Mayor Murray announced that the City will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in January. The RFP process opens up Key Arena renovations to private parties.
He also acknowledged the impact to Uptown:
“We continue to listen to options to redevelop KeyArena as part of our revitalization of Seattle Center. There are many challenges to consider, including how to address traffic in the growing Uptown neighborhood, and any viable plan will include efforts to mitigate these concerns, while also bringing Seattle tremendous cultural and financial benefit. But, I remain committed to building a state-of-the-art arena in Seattle, and this effort means multiple entities could be working to make that a reality. I also remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.”
While traffic woes would certainly increase with a revamped arena, the positive impact to Queen Anne and Uptown businesses would be significant. When we lost the Sonics, local restaurants and bars lost business – and some had to close down.
You can read the latest on Hansen’s proposed Sodo arena and the possible renovation of Key Arena in this Seattle Times article.
It’s nearly a done deal… and 2 seasons at the Key is fantastic news for Lower Queen Anne/Uptown! Last night the rumors were sounding pretty solid, and this morning the news is in: Chris Hansen and his investment partners have reached an agreement for the purchase of the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise. Go Sonics!
“The NBA received an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen. The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board’s committee process for review.” – NBA.com
Followed by a statement from Chris Hansen:
“We are happy to announce that we have entered into a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise. The sale is obviously subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and we look forward to working with the League in the coming months to consummate the transaction.While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family. Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades.” – Chris Hansen
Mayor Mike McGinn issued a statement this morning:
“This is an exciting day for our city and for Sonics fans everywhere. I congratulate Chris Hansen and his investment team. While there is more work ahead, this is a major step toward bringing the Sonics home.” – Mayor Mike McGinn
Follow continuing coverage at our news partner, The Seattle Times.
More (Good) Rumors on Sonics Returning to Seattle and Playing at the Key
If you’re a Sonics fan, you’ve likely been lamenting their move to Oklahoma City since 2008 (and perhaps also rooting against the Thunder as revenge?). Well, after a back-and-forth of rumors since last Wednesday, all we have is near-confirmations, and more rumors.
However, the latest rumors say that there’s a “clear path” for the Kings to move to Seattle and be crowned the Sonics. The Kings have until March 1 to file to move cities. If the deal goes through and the deadline is met, the Sonics will play at the Key Arena for their first two seasons.
Having the Sonics back at the Key, even for a limited time, is good news for Queen Anne – Lower Queen Anne/Uptown has struggled since the Sonics left in 2008. Back in October, Easy Street Records owner Matt Vaughan told us about the impact of the Sonics leaving, citing them as the “most important tenant in Queen Anne” with sales dropping 30% or more when they left in 2008.
Lower Queen Anne/Uptown businesses would reap benefits from a Sonics season or two at the Key. With nearly 50 games played per year, an NBA team at the Key would bring in a lot of customer traffic for our local shops, restaurants, and bars. Back in 2008, our news partner, The Seattle Times, reported on the financial loss of the Sonics – citing some businesses losing between $40,000 and $150,00 per year after the Sonics left.
Let’s hope this deal happens for both Seattle and Queen Anne!