Seattle Council OKs Hedge Fund Manager's Arena Plan

Sep 25 2012 | 1:51am ET

Seattle's City Council yesterday signed off on a hedge fund manager's plan to build a new basketball arena in the city, his hometown.

The 6-2 vote moves the plan, championed by Valiant Capital Management's Christopher Hansen, one step closer to final approval; it now only needs the assent of the Metropolitan King County Council, which is expected to consider the matter next month. The County Council is likely to sign off, as it did on the original agreement in July.

Hansen, who has pledged nearly $300 million to the project, had to renegotiate that pact to win the City Council over. The new memorandum of understanding offers increased taxpayer protection and more transportation infrastructure investments for the neighborhood that will house the arena, which is already home to baseball's Seattle Mariners and football's Seattle Seahawks.

Under the plan, public bonds will cover $200 million of the project.

"I think that today's vote demonstrates that by listening to each other and working hard to address the concerns of all stakeholders that we can make the arena a reality and bring professional basketball and hockey back to Seattle," Hansen, who lives in San Francisco, said.

Hansen will now have to shop for a National Basketball Association franchise. It is unclear how long it will take him to find one for Seattle, which lost its SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.

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