Chicago businessman’s Belleuve arena plan has been in the works for 25 months

Jul 27, 2012, 4:08 PM | Updated: 10:29 pm

A new state of the art arena will
be erected in Bellevue, not SoDo, if a hockey-loving Chicago
businessman’s plan moves forward. (AP Photo/File)

The Seattle area is the best market in the United States that doesn’t
have a National Hockey League team, according to one businessman
prepared to bring pro hockey to the Eastside.

Don Levin, a Chicago businessman, has 19 years of experience in the
hockey business and said he’s been talking to the City of Bellevue about
his plan to build an arena for nearly 25 months.

“I think we’re very close to getting it done,” Levin told “The Kevin Calabro
Show” Friday.

As the King County Council vote approaches for the Seattle arena, Levin
believes that the impact of the county’s decision won’t stop his planned
investment from moving forward.

Both Levin and Seattle arena investor Chris Hansen plan on building an
arena that can support both NHL and NBA franchises. Hansen says his SoDo area plan doesn’t need a
hockey team to move forward. Levin says both teams are necessary to
make his plan viable.

The perks of an Eastside arena, of which Levin wouldn’t reveal the
specific location, include everything from future light rail in Bellevue to
areas around the site in which new entertainment venues could be built.

The plan for the building must come first, and so far, Levin isn’t ready to
team up with Hansen. He believes the SoDo land purchased by Hansen
isn’t the ideal location for the two future franchises. “While I think it’s a
great place to have a building it just doesn’t have the land necessary.”

According to Levin, the SoDo location wouldn’t make a good venture.
“Chris, while he’s a very smart guy,” he says, “I’m not sure he has the
knowledge to do this.”

“This isn’t something you do in a cavalier manner,” he told Calabro just a
few hours after meeting Hansen for the first time.

When pressed Levin did say it would make more sense if he teamed up
with Hansen, admitting it would be a “win-win” situation. “I guess the
position is, who is controlling the building.”

If the King County Council does approve Hansen’s arena proposal
Monday, the Seattle City Council will be expected to vote on the Seattle
plan as early as August 20.

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Chicago businessman’s Belleuve arena plan has been in the works for 25 months