Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin, in an email to some constituents Tuesday (the email's authenticity was confirmed by the SeattlePI), said that while he supports the NBA's return to Seattle, he thinks a new arena that would house both NBA and NHL franchises south of Safeco Field in SoDo should be built with only private money.
In the email, Conlin notes: "When Mr. Hanson made his presentation to the City Council, he indicated that there is not a financial plan that requires public investment in this project. There were also no good reasons given as to why this project should receive public financial support, unlike any other business that would like to locate in Seattle. The City works with businesses to manage transportation, land use, and regulatory issues, but we do not invest public money in businesses."
Conlin goes on to list the process the Seattle City Council is going through in the approval process, but ends by saying, "On balance, I think it is unlikely that this proposal will be approved. I encourage proponents of a new basketball team to lobby Mr. Hanson [sic] to pursue this as a private enterprise with public cooperation but without the complex financial arrangements and public investment that the current proposal appears to rely on."
Now, notably, that view may not be shared by other councilmembers. Councilmember Jean Godden told seattlepi.com: "I think he may have been just a little premature. My own opinion is that the council is pretty optimistic on bringing the NBA back. Obviously, Conlin does not speak for the entire council."
Just spoke with Council Pres. Sally Clark: "It's great that Richard has staked out a position," but doesn't mean the rest of them have.— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) June 26, 2012
When interviewed by King5's Chris Daniels, Conlin "defended his email, & expressed serious concerns about project financing." Conlin also claimed that his "mind is not made up" on the situation.
This looks like a story that will develop as we hear more from the Seattle City Council, so stay tuned here with us at SB Nation Seattle at our NBA, NHL Area Deal StoryStream.