The latest from the NHL-to-Seattle front: Chris Hansen, the local investor behind the SoDo neighborhood arena, says there has been no offer made from a hockey franchise to become the prospective building’s inaugural tenant.
“We’ve had a lot of informal discussions with people about this, but us or the city have yet to be presented with any kind of offer. I mean any kind of even basic offer that would be the opening point for negotiating something,” Hansen told the AP on Tuesday.
“I just want to make that clear. No one has come forward and made an offer to do this in a way that would be unacceptable or acceptable. There hasn’t been any negotiation around the terms of how this could be changed. We’ve taken a very simple approach: Don’t make it worse for us and don’t make it worse for the city and use your own creativity and just come back to us with something that is fair and we don’t have anything back yet.”
More, from the AP:
The lack of formal discussions around a potential hockey franchise was surprising, considering his original memorandum of understanding with the city of Seattle and King County was approved more than two years ago and immediate NBA prospects have dimmed.
The original MOU calls for arena construction to begin only after the acquisition of a basketball franchise. A revised MOU for a hockey-first scenario would need to be approved by local governments and likely require more private investment.
Hansen acknowledged having discussions with Victor Coleman, the head of a Los Angeles-based real estate company who owns properties in Seattle’s stadium district and is known to be interested in trying to bring in hockey. Those discussions have yet to yield a formal proposal.
Back on May 5, Coleman — who’s been working with Hansen to get the arena — reaffirmed his desire to put a team in downtown Seattle.
“My priority is to figure out a way to make a deal on the SoDo site,” Coleman told Puget Sound Business Journal.
That said, Coleman did explain he had a “Plan B” in mind with regards to the arena, declining to say where his alternative site was located. It was the latest in a series of developments involving proposals outside of Seattle; in late April, developers in nearby Tukwila filed intent to build an arena — a group called RLB Holdings, headed up by Ray Bartoszek, the former energy trader who was reportedly close to moving the Coyotes to Seattle.
In light of those developments, Seattle mayor Ed Murray posed the idea of amending the MOU for a hockey-first proposal.
“I’m committed to doing everything I can to get an NBA and NHL team here in Seattle,” Murray said last month, per King 5. “And Seattle is absolutely the only place for an NHL and NBA team here in our region.
“As I’ve said before, I stand by the [memorandum of understanding] that the city signed which requires the NBA to commit to Seattle before an arena can be built. But given what we’ve heard from the NBA, I’m open to the idea of NHL coming to Seattle first. I am ready to listen and would be willing to reconsider the MOU if there is an NHL-first proposal that pencils out for the City.”
Hansen, who says he remains committed to getting the NBA back to Seattle, went on to tell the AP he doesn’t feel any pressure from RLB or the Tukwila proposal.