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City Council Committee Approves Arena Deal

Ann Dornfeld

A Seattle City Council committee Thursday approved the city's amended deal to build a new sports arena in the Sodo neighborhood.

The Government Performance and Finance Committee voted on the latest agreement with the investor group that wants up to $200 million in public money to build a home for new NBA and NHL teams.


The council members voiced strong support for the amendments to the agreement announced this week. Councilmember Jean Godden hailed the new financial security provisions in the deal, like investor Chris Hansen's personal guaranty ensuring debt repayment if the arena goes belly–up.

Jean Godden: "On balance I think the proposal provides significant benefit to the city, while minimizing financial risk."

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said the new agreement's investment in Key Arena and the $40 million fund it would create for transportation improvements helped him decide to vote yes.

Tom Rasmussen: "But that doesn't obligate us to enter into a final agreement with Mr. Hansen should the EIS show that it would not be in the best public interest."

Councilmember Nick Licata said he thought Hansen's personal guaranty to be possibly ground–breaking among investments of this type. But he said the public deserves more time to examine the agreement.

Nick Licata: "And I wish, personally, to look at this document with a deeper — it's a very complex document — it's a good document, far better than we've seen, but it's a complex document."

Licata abstained from voting. The rest of the committee voted "yes" on the arena deal.

The full council is scheduled to vote on the agreement September 24.

I'm Ann Dornfeld, KUOW News.

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