No NHL tenant required to build new Seattle arena

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It’s hard to say if this is good or bad news for Seattle hockey fans, but here it is anyway – the city announced today that it’s reached an agreement with hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen to build an arena in hopes of landing an NBA team. However, unlike before, an NHL franchise is no longer required as a second tenant for construction to start.

From the Associated Press:

Only an NBA team, with a non-relocation agreement signed, is needed to begin construction on the proposed 18,500-seat facility.

The city/county investment in the project would be capped at $200 million if both an NBA and NHL team are acquired and would be capped at $120 million if it’s only an NBA team. The agreement calls for $290 million in private investment.

Now, the pessimist would say this is proof there isn’t an NHL team available for relocation, or else they wouldn’t have had to go this route.

But the optimist would say, at least a building will be waiting and ready if if an NHL franchise becomes available in the future. (Assuming an NBA team is relocated first.)