The move by Bartoszek, 50, through his RLB Holdings Sports and Entertainment LLC company, launches the countdown toward getting approval for construction.
Connecticut investment banker Ray Bartoszek on Friday submitted plans for a 19,500-seat “Northwest Arena” to Tukwila city officials as part of a request for an environmental review.
The move by Bartoszek, 50, through his RLB Holdings Sports and Entertainment LLC company, launches the countdown toward possible approval for construction. Tukwila officials have told Bartoszek’s group that it typically takes six to 12 months to complete such a review once a request has been filed but added they would attempt to expedite the process.
Bartoszek is partnered with former Sonics star Fred Brown, NBA legend Bill Russell and Bellevue architect Jerry Lee, but for now is the project’s main financial backer. A source told The Seattle Times on Friday that an additional financial backer could be announced in the coming weeks, though it won’t be Hollywood movie producer Thomas Tull, who had been in talks with Bartoszek this year before declining to join the project.
The five-page request for a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review, accompanied by an additional nine pages of sketches and exhibits, states that the arena, for which the footprint would be 195,000 square feet, will hold between 17,500 and 18,500 for NHL and NBA games, respectively. The NHL games would have the smaller seating capacity because of the larger ice playing surface area. The arena’s full capacity for other events would be 19,500.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Analysis: Where the QB battle stands and four other thoughts after the Seahawks' preseason opener
- Quarterback play a mixed bag as Seahawks lose to Steelers to open preseason play
- Rookies Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant start at cornerback for Seahawks, learn a few lessons
- Tobin Heath brings experience, leadership to OL Reign as she settles in with new club
- Sloppy play opens door for Rangers to snap nine-game losing streak vs. Mariners
Documents state the arena would be approximately 140 feet high and encompass an area bordered by the East Valley Highway (HW 181) to the west, 156th St. to the north, Nelson Place to the east and Longacres Way to the south. A request for partial street vacation of 156th St. and a possible easement of land just to the east of the facility will be made so the entirety of the arena can fit into the targeted space.
An adjacent, structured parking garage would be situated just to the east between two sets of railway tracks. The documents don’t mention whether pedestrian bridges would be built over the rail tracks.
Additional surface parking is expected once the group secures additional land via expected deals. The plans envision enhancing the approach between the parking garage and the arena.
“Public-oriented plazas and walkways will be constructed adjoining and approaching the new arena, primarily in the area east of the arena,’’ the review request states. “These public spaces will enhance the approach and entry experience and promote strong pedestrian access and circulation.’’
The arena sits on eight parcels of land controlled by Bartoszek’s partner, Brown. An additional two plots of land just north of that — the site of a Hampton Inn — also are controlled by Brown.
The parking garage sits on two plots of land controlled by Leuqar BB LLC, owned by Seattle businessman Yale Wong and his wife, Laura. Wong is a longtime friend of Brown and partnered with Bartoszek on the project.
Bartoszek declined to comment on the application.
His move comes amid uncertainty surrounding a rival SoDo District project pitched by entrepreneur Chris Hansen. A report Thursday by KING 5 quoted would-be NHL owner Victor Coleman as saying he’s prepared to part ways with Hansen and could partner with another arena builder.
A final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is scheduled to be released Thursday by the city of Seattle, but months of political and bureaucratic hurdles are expected to carry the process into early next year. Also, the impact of that EIS release will be muted unless Hansen can reach a new funding deal with the Seattle and King County.
Their current deal calls for up to $200 million in bond funding toward a SoDo arena if Hansen can lure an NBA team. But there is no “NHL first” provision in the deal, a major problem because the NBA has said it won’t consider expanding for at least two or three years.
Coleman and Hansen did not return phone calls seeking comment.