Seattle City Council gives key approval for new arena

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It was not a surprise — all the groundwork had already been done, previous approvals given at other levels of government — but still it has to feel good for those that want to see the NBA back in Seattle.

Tuesday night the Seattle City Council voted 6-2 to approve developers Chris Hansen’s plan for a $490 million arena in the South Downtown area of Seattle.

It was a clean, clear vote — no replacement officials needed to hand Seattle this one.

Hansen had to personally guarantee debt payments, put up $7 million for Key Arena upgrades and agree to let the city buy the arena back after a 30-year lease to get the deal done. This is in addition to $40 million in traffic improvement money for the area where the arena would go, not far from where both the Seahawks and Mariners play.

This is great news — but we are still a long way from seeing NBA basketball in Seattle.

There needs to be detailed arena designs and environmental reports. There a couple years of construction after that. And as with all major developments now, you can probably expect a lawsuit or two from opponents.

Oh, and there is the little matter of Hansen getting a team he can move to Seattle. You can bet he contacted Glen Taylor about the Timberwolves but Taylor will not sell to anyone who will move the team. The Maloofs continue to look for a sucker to build them an arena but let them retain control of the Kings and reap the profits from the new arena.

Hansen is looking for a team he can move, but he may have more luck getting an NHL team first… well, once they start playing again.