Seattle still doesn’t have a basketball team, but it’s betting on acquiring the Sacramento Kings, a move rumored to be imminent. To usher in this acquisition, the Seattle City Council and Metropolitan King County last fall approved a $490 million basketball and hockey arena. Funding will consist of $290 million, to come from a private investment group helmed by Christopher Hansen—the San Francisco-based, Seattle native hedge fund manager—and another $200 million from public bonds.
Hansen has purchased a total 4.37 acres in the SoDo neighborhood, an industrial area south of downtown Seattle, near the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field and the Seattle Seahawks’ CenturyLink field.
Local firm 360 Architecture is leading the design and submitted a series of conceptual schemes to the city during design review meetings in November and December. The proposed 725,000-square-foot arena could seat between 18,000 and 20,000 people.
Renderings of the Seattle Arena depict a grand stair leading to a steel and glass entry and concourse. Within this transparent box, a glowing, opaque orange-gold tapering cylinder contains the court and seating bowl. 360 Architecture envisions the stepped entry along Occidental Avenue South as a “front porch” for the neighborhood. The glass-enclosed concourse provides views of the city skyline and Elliot Bay. Also included are plans for a public promenade, as well as improved pedestrian and bike connections to public transit on Fourth Avenue South.
Supporters applaud the investment in the city, while critics hope to see a better connection to the Sodo area. The neighborhood is also home to a busy port, and longshore workers are concerned about traffic congestion. Terms of the agreement require an environmental review, which could take up to a year to complete.