Photo: Mayor McGinn/Flickr
Pursuing his dream of building an arena to bring back the Seattle Sonics basketball team, San Francisco financier Chris Hansen has paid $25 million for a building at 1518 1st Avenue South, as well as a vacant lot next door.
Located across the way from Safeco Field in the city’s SoDo neighborhood, the six-story structure was built in 1907 and currently holds office space and an eatery called Henry’s Tavern. County records show the seller was an LLC linked to Henbart, a Seattle real estate development firm.
This isn’t the first recent real estate investment Hansen has made in the area. Last month, a Hansen-related LLC spent $32 million on two warehouse properties covering 4.88 acres to the south of the proposed arena site on Occidental Avenue South. In total, Hansen has spent $122.5 million for 12.66 acres near where the arena would be situated, reports The Seattle Times.
Even so, there’s no guarantee that the arena will be built. While Hansen and his partners have a memorandum of understanding with the city to build a $500-million arena, that agreement runs out in 2017. And so far, the NBA has not promised to provide a team before the deal expires. What’s more, the Seattle City Council voted against a street vacation that was a key part of the project earlier this year.
Despite those obstacles, Hansen seems determined to make the arena happen. We’ll be watching closely for any hints on the future of the Sonics.