Despite suffering a blow this week in his bid to bring professional basketball back to his hometown, hedge fund manager Chris Hansen remains optimistic about his plans to build a new arena in Seattle.
In his first televised interview since the plan emerged last month, Hansen told KING 5 News that he might not require a commitment from a National Basketball Association or National Hockey League franchise to move forward with the arena. Earlier this week, Hansen's presumed top target, the Sacramento Kings, fell off the table when a new arena plan for California's capital was approved by the Sacramento City Council.
Still, Hansen sounded like a man ready to put shovels into the ground he already owns in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood, near the city's football and baseball stadiums.
"I think we have to be ready at the times the franchise opportunities present themselves to act," he said. He said he hoped to have city and county financing in place for the $500 million arena plan by April, in time for the NBA owners meeting. But he acknowledged that it could take longer to do so.
Hansen also said that he and his group hoped their new building would be a mixed-use venue anchoring a new retail center with shops and restaurants. "We would love to, of course, some for of mixed-use entertainment, like at the Staples Center in Los Angeles."
Hansen runs Valiant Capital Management in San Francisco.