Chris Hansen, the San Francisco hedge-fund manager proposing to invest in a new basketball and hockey arena in Sodo, will pay to have its traffic and parking impacts studied, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Thursday, along with Hansen.
The announcement comes the day after Arena Advisory Panel approved the plan for a $490 million arena south of Safeco Field. The panel said the agreement –- which includes at least a $290 million private investment from Hansen –- looks promising, although there are still unanswered questions about the investors and the security of the public’s investment.
The proposal has come under fire this week from the Seattle Mariners and the Port of Seattle and local maritime industry, which share concerns about traffic and scheduling problems. They point out that promised traffic improvements for the two existing stadiums were never built.
“At the end of the day I’m also a Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders fan,” Hansen said today. “There are some valid concerns down here and we’re going to do our best to address them.”
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The study will look at how people will access the arena, and suggest ways to enhance access to all three stadiums and the area in general, McGinn said.
Talk of a third sports arena in SODO also has brought to the surface tension between tourist and industrial uses of that part of town. Adding another sports facility chips away at the city’s main center for blue-collar jobs.