Today’s special episode of Seattle Growth Podcast focuses on the future of Key Arena. This issue has become more relevant as multiple groups are hoping to bring professional basketball and hockey back to Seattle. Key Arena played home to the basketball franchise Seattle Supersonics until 2008, when the team moved to Oklahoma City. In its current state, the arena does not meet the expectations of the NBA or the NHL.

There are three proposals to develop an NBA-ready arena that are being considered by City Council. Two groups have proposed to renovate Key Arena, while one group, led by Chris Hansen, is proposing to develop a sports and entertainment complex in the SODO neighborhood.

The issue is now two-fold: Which proposal will the city support for the purpose of attracting professional basketball and hockey teams?  And secondly, if Key Arena is not chosen for that purpose, what will the city do with that public asset?

In this episode, City Councilmember Rob Johnson describes the process by which the proposals will be evaluated and offers insight into the pros and cons of each.

Developer Sam Farrazaino offers an alternative vision for repurposing Key Arena should a development in SODO becomes the home of professional arena sports.

This episode gives you a better understanding of how public resources may be deployed in bringing the NBA and NHL to Seattle and in improving Seattle Center.

 

Episode Recap

Rob Johnson describes what Seattle Center means to the city as whole (4:45). He describes what he would like Key Arena to mean to Seattle Center and the region (5:49) and what he is looking for in the proposals (7:48). He notes his concern is “to make sure that we are not privatizing the profit and publicizing the risk.”

He describes the pros and cons of the Oak View Group proposal (9:44). He views the community partnerships and community outreach as positives. Johnson noted, “The financial elements are the pieces that are the hardest to unravel because they both require some level of public subsidies.”

One concern Johnson noted with the Oak View Group proposal is how it will affect the citizens of Seattle. “They ask for a forgiveness on the sales taxes associated with construction, which will likely save them several hundreds of millions of dollars…They may not require a direct public subsidy. By not paying that sales tax, it does have a downstream impact on the kinds of services that we can provide as a city and county.”

Johnson briefly described the memorandum of understanding the city has signed with the SoDo arena group (13:12) and then discussed the pros and cons of the Seattle Partners proposal to renovate Key Arena (14:35). “From an urban design perspective, it is a slightly better proposal the way it meets the street.” Johnson noted the transportation investment strategies as another benefit. However, the financial component is something he believes needs to be vetted properly. “The biggest piece of their financial assumptions are again that access to city bonding authority. There are some other issues that I think we need to have worked out too.”

Johnson also provides an explanation of the process by which the arena will be chosen (16:29).

As far as the timeline for an arena to be built? “Even if we were to sign on the dotted line with a Key Arena proposal before the end of the year, we are still several years away from actually being ready for the building to start construction. Whereas if were to sign on the dotted line with SoDo before the end of the year, they could start construction immediately after we sign on the dotted line.”

If the SODO proposal is approved, it appears from episode 8 of Seattle Growth Podcast that the mayor’s office believes the city can accommodate only one sports and entertainment complex. This means the city might need to find another use for its public asset. To stimulate creative thinking about alternative futures for Seattle’ Center’s Key Arena, I reached out to a Seattle Growth Podcast guest from Season 1, artist-turned-developer Sam Farrazaino.

Sam Farrazaino envisions an “arts enclave in the spirit of a Pike Place Market. Local people who are creating stuff on site.” Keeping the existing structure intact, he would “break the central part of the arena down into four different performance venues.” Using the service stations and suites, he would create spaces for photographers, painters, sculptors, and other artists. This would allow visitors to “experience the arts in the place they are made.” He argues, “we need more space for local arts to thrive.”  

Farrazaino shares what inspired the idea (32:15). He provides a rough estimate of what it would cost (37:35) and describes how the project could earn back the investment (38:10) with more specifics on how to possibly make the numbers work at 48:42.   

What could does he believe this mean to Seattle Center (42:58) and to the city (52:05)? Listen to find out.

A local investment group led by Chris Hansen has a proposal to build an NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. Their proposal has the potential to impact you and life in this city.

You will learn what the SoDo arena group needs from the city to proceed and what they hope a return of the Sonics will mean to Seattle.

In this episode, you can hear:

  1. Pete Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, describes what basketball has meant to him and how his experience as a team owner influences his efforts to bring the Sonics back to Seattle.
  2. Wally Walker, former Sonics player and team executive, shares details of the proposal and what it was like to be a player on the first professional sports team to bring  a championship to Seattle.

     

It is time for us to decide as a people : what do we want for this city as it undergoes a transformation? In today’s episode you are going to hear what the highest leadership at the city and state levels want. You will hear an in-depth interview with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. You will also hear an in-depth interview with a member of Governor Jay Inslee’s executive cabinet, Brian Bonlender.

mayor-murray

You will also hear appearances by

Maggie Walker, Friends of Waterfront Seattle

Greg Smith, CEO of Urban Visions;

Jane Richlovsky, partner in Good Arts Building;

Benjamin Zuercher, founder of StuffMapper;

Ali Ghambari, owner of Cherry Street Coffee House;

Tasha Meyer, student;

Bojie Mageo, cofounder of Swurveys;

Mikaela Kiner, CEO of uniquely HR;

Ty Sanders

Are Seattle’s public utilities prepared for the influx of people? Hear from Ray Hoffman, former Director of Seattle Public Utilities, which oversees water, sewage, and solid waste management. In an in-depth interview, he shares which utilities are ready to expand with demand and which utilities concern him.

rayhoffman
Hear from Larry Weis, CEO of Seattle City Light, share the impact of new development on electricity usage. He also shares what changes have been made in reaction to the population growth and his vision for the future.

larryweis

Through this episode you will have a better understanding of how growth impacts the public utilities and the scalability of these services.

This special episode of Seattle Growth Podcast brings you more information about the proposed ordinance that can change the way public spaces are used in neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Seattle City Council is considering a proposal that will set rules dictating the city’s response to unsanctioned encampments on public property. A recent draft can be found here

The proposal has made headlines, but Seattle Growth Podcast is the first to bring you in-depth interviews from multiple perspectives closest to issue. City Councilmember Rob Johnson discusses the proposal and why he co-sponsored it. City Councilmember Tim Burgess discusses why he is opposed to the proposal and what he believes should be done instead.

For a perspective outside of government, the episode also includes an interview with the CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association: Jon Scholes.

For those of you who would like to have your voice heard on either side of this issue, you may find the City Councilmembers’ contact information below:

Lisa Herbold
206-684-8803
lisa.herbold@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell
206-684-8804
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Kshama Sawant
206-684-8016
kshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Rob Johnson
206-684-8808
rob.johnson@seattle.gov
Debora Juarez
206-684-8805
debora.juarez@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien
206-684-8800
mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Sally Bagshaw
206-684-8801
sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Tim Burgess
206-684-8806
tim.burgess@seattle.gov
Lorena Gonzales
206-684-8802
lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov

You may contact all city council members in a single email using council@seattle.gov

 

Seattle Growth Podcast Live Announcement

Also, be sure to join UW Foster professor Jeff Shulman, who hosts Seattle Growth Podcast, for Seattle Growth Podcast Live on October 17th.

Register Now

Shulman will moderate a distinguished panel of community leaders in a discussion about how to address the growth-related challenges and opportunities that will shape Seattle’s future. The panel includes:

John Connors John Creighton Maggie Walker
Ignition Partners Port of Seattle Commissioner Civic Leader

The panel discussion will be preceded by a networking opportunity during a reception with appetizers and a cash bar.

Where: Impact Hub Seattle. See Location and Parking information.

When: Monday, October 17th, 6pm to 8pm

Register Now

The event is sponsored by

UW Foster Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and Impact Hub Seattle 

 

Hear from two Seattle natives why Seattle’s character and culture matter to them: Hazel Margaretes (5:30) and Dan Morgan (15:47). Also hear from artist-turned developer, Sam Farrazaino (28:25) who shares his perspective on the importance of culture and how catering to the arts community can be financially rewarding.

With appearances by:
Nate Daum; Startup Hall (0:00)
Taylor Graham; Seattle Sounders FC (1:45)
Bogie Mageo; Swurveys (2:13)
Kathy Kelley (2:55)
Jeff Mangalin (3:25)
Mike Lang (3:55)
Don Schulze; Owner of Shultzy’s Restaurant & President of University District Parking Associates (4:25)
Greg Smith; CEO of Urban Visions (51:00)

Get an inside look at the effect of rising rents on the lives of some of Seattle’s workers and what Seattle’s Socialist City Council Member thinks should be done. You will hear in-depth interviews with a chef named Carrie (3:30) who works two jobs to make ends meet, Steve Smith (13:55) who builds for people in Seattle and Kshama Sawant (26:52) who is Seattle’s first Socialist City Council member in over a century.

The episode also has an appearance by Jeff Mangalin.

Hear from the neighbors you’ve noticed but likely know little about. Learn about life in a Tent City, what a mother thinks about when living in a car with her two children, and why someone might move to Seattle without having a home to move into.

This episode gives you an inside look into the lives of some of Seattle’s residents who struggle with homeless: Ty Sanders (4:49) who lives on the streets, Stu Tanquist (11:18) who I met in Tent City 7, and Charlotte Wheelock (22:25) who I met in Mary’s Place family shelter. You will also hear from Janie Hendrix (2:40), CEO of Experience Hendrix and sister of the late, great musician Jimi Hendrix; and from Parker Ferguson (3:01), founding partner at Flinn Ferguson commercial real estate services. The episode features an in-depth interview with the executive director of Mary’s Place, Marty Hartman (35:42), who provides expert opinion on how to address the challenges of the rising homeless population.

With an appearance by Mike Gibbons of Tent City 7.

Learn what it takes to buy a starter home in Seattle and how that has changed over the years. First hear Seattle Mayor Ed Murray share what the people of Seattle can do to help improve their neighborhoods.

Then Rob Wasser (5:02), owner and designated broker of Prospera Real Estate and a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, shares data on affordability in Seattle, as well as how the conversion of single-family homes to townhomes is affecting that affordability.

Brad Evered (25:41), a broker with Caliber Home Loans, discusses the changes in lending standards over his 20 years in the business, and translates the current parameters to the levels of income, debt and savings necessary to buy a home in Seattle today.

The episode also features appearances by Seattle homeowners and house hunters Kathy Kelley, Leslie Basel, Loren West and Dan Morgan.