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Bellevue City Manager Steve Sarkozy, who has quietly been promoting his city as a possible location for a professional basketball and hockey arena, said today the idea is “very real, very much a possibility.”

Even though San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen earlier this month made a proposal  for an arena south of Seattle’s Safeco Field, Sarkozy said the Bellevue City Council has given him an ongoing “license to hunt” for investors in an NBA and NHL arena.

“I’m not here with an announcement. We continue to work with several private interest groups and, frankly, several locations in the city,” Sarkozy told a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast forum. He declined to provide any information about the groups he has talked to.

“Is Bellevue an option? I would say Bellevue is very much an option.  And are we in the game? Absolutely. Stay tuned,” Sarkozy said.

Former Seattle Sonics minority shareholder Craig Kinzer said at the same forum he didn’t see Bellevue’s bid for an arena as competing with Hansen’s efforts.  “I know that options do nothing but increase the odds that something will happen,” Kinzer said.