SuperSonics Agree On New Arena Land

Tuesday, April 10th 2007, 10:47 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ The Professional Basketball Club cleared a significant obstacle in its efforts to get a new arena built for the Seattle SuperSonics and WNBA's Storm.

The group announced an agreement Monday in principle with Dallas-based Harvest Partners to acquire 21.2 acres of land on the shore of Lake Washington in south suburban Renton for a potential new arena that could cost more than $500 million.

``We both see excellent potential for The Landing and the new events center and believe that together they would provide even greater economic, cultural and other benefits to the city of Renton, the region and the state,'' said Clay Bennett, the basketball group's chairman.

Bennett has asked the state Legislature for $300 million in public money for the proposed arena, which appears to have enough support in the state Senate, but still faces problems in the House. Jim Kneeland, spokesman for the ownership group, expects movement this week on the arena proposal and is confident about its chances.

``We have high hopes that if we can get a vote on this thing it will get it out of the House and Senate,'' Kneeland said.

The land is owned by Boeing Co. Harvest Partners, part of the joint venture working on an adjacent mixed-use development called The Landing, has the first right of refusal for the parcel. Negotiations have been ongoing for about three months _ mostly around how the arena would fit within the retail and residential development plans for The Landing _ and Kneeland expects to have the agreement finalized in the next week.

``We have been involved in extensive recent discussions and expect to have a signed definitive agreement soon,'' said Eliot Barnett, managing partner of Harvest Partners.

The developers said they expect the first retail stores to open at The Landing in October, and the first residential phase to open in 2009.