According to multiple sources including King 5 in Seattle, construction for a new downtown sports arena has been OK'd to begin once they have gotten an NBA team in place, after the city of Seattle, King County and San Francisco based hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen agreed to a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday.
The agreement adds a new wrinkle to an original proposal in that an NHL team is no longer needed to start construction. Only an NBA team, with a non-relocation agreement signed, is needed to begin construction on the proposed 18,500-seat facility.
The city/county investment in the project would be capped at $200 million if both an NBA and NHL team are acquired. The city would cover $120 million and the county would pay $80 million.
The agreement also calls for $290 million in outside funds, while no NBA or NHL team has committed or even strongly signaled a move to Seattle could be in their near future.
Hansen, the man spear-heading this project, still faces a number of obstacles on the road to brining the NBA back to Seattle, including serious traffic concerns voiced by the Mariners in and around the SODO area of Seattle. Still, this is a huge step forward for the NBA's return to Seattle.