Report: Seattle unveils arena plan

The city of Seattle, without an NBA franchise since the Sonics skipped town in 2008, unveiled plans for a new $490 million sports arena to win one back, The Seattle Times reported.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County executive Dow Constantine released the details Thursday, which will see taxpayers fund $200 million toward the project, alongside a $290 million investment from an investment group led by San Francisco hedge fund manager Christopher Hansen.

The arena also hopes to house the city’s first NHL team, although such a move was dependent on further outside funding, with Hansen and his unidentified group of investors unwilling to finance it.

McGinn and Constantine confirmed a committee of community leaders and financial experts was charged with examining the proposals to decide if they serve taxpayers’ interests and will report back next month.

The use of public funds will see the government own the land and the arena, with costs recouped by charging the teams rent and through additional tax revenue generated by the property.

McGinn and Constantine said not a single brick of the new arena will be laid until Hansen, a 44-year-old billionaire, signs an NBA franchise to a deal that will prevent the team from relocating for at least 30 years.

The Sacramento Kings emerged as the most likely target, given the team’s uncertain future in California, although an NBA league spokesman said Thursday neither the commissioner nor league officials were willing to comment on any prospective franchise moves to Seattle.

After 41 years in the Washington city, the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma in 2008 to be unveiled as the Oklahoma City Thunder, a move that retained the Sonics name, logo and color scheme for any future franchise in Seattle.

The Seattle Times named the league-controlled Phoenix Coyotes as the most likely NHL team to relocate.