Russell Wilson says KeyArena RFP won’t interfere with SoDo arena project in Seattle Times op-ed
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson says that while the incoming proposals to redesign KeyArena don’t interfere with his investment group’s plans, that building a SoDo arena is still the best and fastest way of returning the Sonics to Seattle.
In an op-ed for The Seattle Times, Wilson details his learning curve since joining the SoDo-arena investment group in November, mentioning the investments and effort the group has put toward building a state-of-the-art arena that would entice the NBA and/or NHL to come to Seattle. That includes spending more than $100 million on acquiring land in the stadium district, investing in multiple studies, and the notion that the group is “just one street-vacation vote away” from being able to tell the NBA and NHL that the City is ready for their leagues.
He also discussed Mayor Ed Murray’s decision to explore options for revamping KeyArena.
“Our team has been asked whether those plans conflict with our plans for an arena in the stadium district,” Wilson wrote. “Our answer is: No.”
Wilson writes that approving the street vacation “in no way interferes with the KeyArena Request for Proposal process” and that “what it does do is put the city in the best possible position to take advantage of franchise opportunities that could well become available before any five- to seven-year KeyArena renovation could be completed.”
Members of two of the high-profile bidders in redesigning KeyArena– the Oak View Group, headed by sports executive Tim Leiweke, and the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns and operates arenas and festivals around the world – have spoken with 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” about their proposals. Officials from both groups said their plans could work in conjunction with the Seattle Arena Group. Wilson appeared to agree with that sentiment in his op-ed.
“I joined with Chris Hansen, Wally Walker, and Erik and Pete Nordstrom because I believe in the solid plan this committed, local group has put together,” Wilson wrote. “It’s a major investment – for all of us in the group – but I truly believe that building a state-of-the-art arena alongside our city’s other great stadiums is Seattle’s best shot at bringing the NBA and NHL back to Seattle.”