SEATTLE – The King County and Seattle City Councils are expected to approve the proposed arena deal on Monday afternoon, but the longshoreman's union plans to file a lawsuit to stop it.
Investor Chris Hansen wants to build a $490 million NBA/NHL arena south of Safeco Field and has already snapped up $53 million in land for the project.
Hansen's proposed - and council amended - deal calls for up to $145 million in public financing if Hansen can get one team to fill the building. Public financing would be $200 million for two teams. The financing would be paid by arena-generating revenue and includes no new taxes.
City Council members say the deal was dead until Hansen agreed to use $40 million of the public financing for a transportation fund and up to $7 million more for KeyArena modifications. It’s likely an NBA team would have to play at KeyArena while an arena was under construction.
The project still needs a full environmental impact study (EIS) and Hansen has to secure a team before construction can begin.
The EIS is a point of concern for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 19. The ILWU says it will announce on Monday plans to sue to try and stop the project, saying the EIS will be a “sham” and make a “mockery” of the process.
Member of both the city and county councils say the deal includes strict language for the EIS and that the planned lawsuit will have no impact on Monday's votes.
The King County Council is slated to take up the issue in its 1:30 p.m. meeting, and is expected to approve the deal. The Seattle City Council is expected to do the same in its 2 p.m. session.