January 12, 2016

Lower Queen Anne or Sodo

No, this isn’t a blog about which location is best to raise a family in a new home or purchase that condo that screams success. I am a huge basketball and hockey fanatic and wanted to write today about the debate: revamping Key Arena in Seattle Center or building a new state of the art location in Sodo. Both have advantages, and both mean big changes for their areas, short term as well as long.
A new build in Sodo would place a new NHL team near the Hawks and Mariners, making Sodo a one stop for sports. And yes, you could potentially have three of the four playing on the same day. Also, building from scratch would enable beautiful state of the art construction, with an arena that would surely rival any other indoor facility in the world. There are also ideas of a 30,000 square foot outdoor park, which could be used year round for festivals, markets and so on. However, building in this location would create more congestion to an already congested area. Not that Seattle Center doesn’t see its share of traffic, but Sodo could get really bad with all of the Port activity and events happening simultaneously. Then you throw in the cost and all of the questions surrounding the final plan. What will it cost area residents to have this built? Will there be any tax breaks or bonds granted? All of this will need to become ironed out before we actually know for sure.
1996 was a fun year to be an NBA fan. Jordan was back, and the Sonics won 63 GAMES and pushed through to become the Western Conference Champions. My team had won 26 games that year, and though I usually rooted for Jordan after the regular season, this year was different. The Sonics were fast and fun. The crowd seemed loud, enthusiastic and for every playoff game of ’96, I wanted to be there. We all know what happened and what people said about the arena since then. However, there is now an idea to renovate Key Arena up to standards for the NBA and NHL. According to reports, it could be significantly less than the Sodo project, saving taxpayers a bundle in this vibrant area. Can they bring this older arena up to the quality standards of 2016 and beyond? Is Seattle Center still a good location for a fresh Key Arena?
Feel free to weigh in. Do you think that building a new futuristic landmark or preserving an old one that has so many memories is right for the city?

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