This morning, I turned on the internet to discover that Chris Hansen, multi-billionaire [I’m pretty sure] and local hero [less uncertain], reached a deal with City Council for a new arena that would allow Seattle to bring back the Sonics and possibly attract a brand new NHL franchise.* As I understand it, the announcement came as something of a surprise – people knew the parties were talking, but I don’t think anyone realized just how close the two sides really were.
But while most of the city celebrated, not everyone is ecstatic.
You see, the new Sonics arena is likely to be built in SoDo, in close proximity to the Port of Seattle and existing stadia that currently house the Mariners and Seahawks. And some of those neighbors are on record with concerns that the Sonics might not be the best neighbors. From an article published April 3 in The Seattle Times:
In a strongly worded letter to city and county leaders, the Seattle Mariners say to find another spot for a new sports arena.
“The proposed Sodo location, in our view, simply does not work,” wrote team Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln, in a letter Tuesday to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine and members of the Seattle and King County councils.
“It would bring scheduling, traffic and parking challenges that would likely require hundreds of millions of dollars to mitigate.”
The Mariners brought up serious issues that seem to have been partially – though not wholly – addressed by concessions Hansen made in reaching a final deal with the City Council, and reiterated their concern in a September 12 letter to the City Council.
But while it’s cute that the Lincoln is concerned about the behavior of his new neighbors, Hansen shouldn’t let the Mariners paint him as the neighborhood bully. Indeed, another article published just two days ago in the Times serves as a timely reminder that the Mariners don’t make for such great neighbors either: