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SoDo Group files new petition for Occidental Street Vacation

Yesterday, Chris Hansen and the SoDo group filed a new petition for the Occidental Street Vacation. This new proposal was consistent with their communicated plan over the last 6 months but was not formalized until Wednesday.

The big things are:

  1. 100% Private Financing.
  2. No arena gets built until a team from either the NHL or NBA is acquired.
  3. The Hansen Group will contribute an additional $1.3M in transit improvements.

When the SoDo group originally announced 100% privately financed model, I was optimistic but after soaking it in a bit, I am not sure that it moves the needle as much as people think it does. This might be me becoming more cynical or it could be the dose of reality we need.

It has been my belief that the 100% private financing was going to happen even if the Occidental Vacation was approved the first time. The public financing in the existing MOU would only kick in if the Hansen group procured an NBA team before the MOU expiration date in November of 2017. The NBA (& Steve Ballmer)  has been very clear that they are not expanding anytime soon. This leaves only one option…lead with the NHL. Well, if they were to lead with an NHL team, there is no public financing. That said, this gives the City Council members some air cover to switch their vote.

 As far as the “No arena gets built until a team is acquired” and $1.3M in transit improvements. The former seems like a no brainier, but if a council member wanted that as a condition, then let’s include it. The $1.3M is a big number, but in the grand scheme of the project, this is a relatively small number.

 In the meantime, the KeyArena RFP remains open until the end April. The Mayor released a statement after the new proposal was submitted.

We have been down this road of optimism before. and in the end, any news is better than no news. My word of advice is to not get overly excited or optimistic on any one event until we are literally watching the puck drop in Seattle.

John Barr
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