Investor now owns all land needed to build new arena

SEATTLE -- As arena developer Chris Hansen continues to negotiate with the City of Seattle about building a new sports arena in the city's SoDo district, word comes Friday that Hansen now owns all the land he needs to build the arena.

Hansen's real estate guru Bill Vipond tells KOMO News that after deals close escrow Friday, the arena will have the footprint it needs to move forward.

The final piece came from the sale of the Bill the Butcher shop in the 1700 block of 1st Avenue and cost Hansen $1.8 million. "For all intents and purposes, it's a done deal," Vipond said of the arena layout.

Hansen's group has controlling interest of every parcel it needs, according to Vipond. So far, Vipond said Hansen's land acquisitions have totaled $50.72 million.

"It's a big deal, you have to have the land, it starts there," Vipond said. "Without the land I don't think you have anything."

Vipond helped seal the deal for Hansen -- it has been nearly 20 months of deals out front and behind closed doors.

Vipond says he's impressed by Hansen's dogged pursuit.

"It takes a certain mindset without having permits or anything in hand," Vipond said. "It takes a certain mindset to say just go and do it, we're going to get this done."

The timing is perfect for Hansen as both the Seattle City Council and his lawyers hash out the final details of a revised Memorandum of Understanding. Our sources say the amended version of the document could have a vote during the next two weeks.

Earlier in the day, radio reports surfaced saying the MOU was ready to be approved. Both Hansen's representatives and the council quickly explained the deal was still in the works and negotiations are ongoing.

In July, eight of the nine Seattle city council members sent a letter to Hansen requesting changes to the arena deal. They want a greater share of tax revenue generated by the arena, and they want Hansen to agree to cover more of the cost involved in building the arena.

The Port of Seattle and many business leaders have been critical of putting another arena in the SoDo neighborhood, fearing the facility would create traffic jams and interfere with the movement of freight.

Hansen has proposed building a new arena just south of Safeco Field that could potentially house NBA and NHL franchises as well as number of other concerts and events.
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