The Seattle arena saga got a little more interesting Monday morning, as plans for an alternate site to house a future NHL and/or NBA team were revealed. Ray Bartoszek, founder of RLB Holdings, has been involved in discussions recently with the NHL to bring an expansion team to Seattle, and formally announced today intentions to build a privately-funded multipurpose arena in Tukwila. Tukwila, of course, is not Seattle (it’s just south of Seattle), which is where Chris Hansen wants to build his multipurpose arena.
Bartoszek intends to file a SEPA application on May 1st, setting in motion a plan to have an arena up and running by 2017. The timing is no coincidence, as Hansen’s arena — planned for Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood — is set to take the next step towards becoming a reality when the much-delayed EIS (Environmental Impact Survey) results are released on May 7th. The EIS is the biggest hurdle in Hansen’s mission (aside from the whole getting an NBA team part of it), and the project is on track to receive a Master Use Permit in early 2016.
Speaking of getting a team, neither the NHL nor NBA have any plans to expand in the near future, but the NHL has at least put out feelers in that regard, with Las Vegas as a strong candidate for a new team. One other item of note: while Bartoszek appears to be more focused on the NHL, two of the Tukwila site’s investors/partners are Fred Brown (a member of the 1979 champion Sonics team) and Bill Russell, who is, you know, Bill effing Russell.