Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
As scheduled, the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Seattle Arena was released Thursday morning and as expected, the results were favorable.
This news is being picked up everywhere but the most thorough article came locally from Chris Daniels and Geoff Baker.
Chris Daniel’s Article here.
Geoff Baker’s article is here.
The Puget Sound Business Journal also had a good summary piece on the economics.
Here are some highlighted tweets of the coverage:
Sonics Arena Statement
Within a couple hours of the FEIS being released, the SonicsArena camp released a statement. There was an entire paragraph on an NHL first scenario.
We also wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate that we remain 100% supportive of the NHL returning to Seattle and playing in the Arena — and are completely open to the prospect of that occurring prior to the NBA. In light of recent speculation, we would just like to clarify that we have sought to be as accommodating as possible in our negotiations with potential NHL partners, with our only major requirements being that such a deal does not jeopardize the process or put the City, County, Taxpayers or us in a worse financial position.
This is consistent with the Hansen camp’s position from the very beginning. In an interview late 2012 with King 5, Hansen said that an NHL first scenario would be possible in the right scenario. At the time, NBA expansion or relocation looked like more of a possibility which made the scenario less likely. Comments from Victor Coleman last week have muddied the waters a bit so it is great to see the Hansen group affirm their position.
Port of Seattle Opposition
Consistent with the ports messaging throughout this entire process. They released this statement on their opposition to the Arena and the EIS findings. In my three plus years of following this project, the Port has never provided any data on the impacts of the Arena to their business and have never appeared to be collaborative in this project. We should expect more and more of this type of PR from the port.
What is next?
Now that the Final EIS hurdle has been cleared, a couple things will start to play out. For an NHL first scenario, a prospective NHL owner will need to strike a deal with the Hansen group. Once that happens, the Hansen group will need to take a proposal to the Mayor to change the current MOU to be an NHL first scenario. This will more than likely need to happen in August so that the Mayor can bring it to the city council for vote in September.
In the meantime, the NHL has two key Board of Governors meetings, one before the NHL Draft in June and another in September. As reported last week, it appears they will “vote” on expansion in September. Since the news did not come from the league, it is up to us to define “vote”. Most people interpret this “vote” as to start the application process and not necessarily, awarding the franchise.
Meanwhile, the Tukwila arena proposal moves forward and should be considered a major competitor to the SoDo Arena regardless if there is movement on the NHL first scenario in Sodo.
As I tell most people, this is a rollercoaster, try not to get too high or too low on any news. So let’s celebrate the victory but do not assume this thing is a done deal. Lots and lots of work still remain.