Will a New Arena Fit Without the BNSF Property and a Rezone ?
On Wednesday we learned a little more about the Stadium Transition Overlay District that was established after Safeco but before the Clink was built. The presentation shows the Clink site as not inside the Duwamish Manufacturing & Industrial Center and further explained the Stadium Transition Overlay District guidelines on how to make the stadium area pedestrian friendly for large crowds and minimize swarms of people interfering with the industrial area to the South.
The BNSF parking lot that Hansen has not acquired is not inside the Stadium Transition Overlay District and is therefore not zoned for a sports arena. The fact that Hansen says he could build with or without that property is interesting because it puts a squeeze on an already narrow property. I also recall a Seattle Times article with the city’s $20k/month expert (who helped build the Amway Center – see below) said they’d need 7 – 8 acres of land for an arena. I think ArenaCo, with the occidental vacation added, would have 7 acres. For some fun I thought I’d see how other modern NBA arenas that also service hockey would fit onto the Hansen property.
I’ll run through some of the most recently built NBA+hockey arenas I can find but first I’d like to start local and compare with all the other locations that the Sonics have played at (KeyArena and the Tacoma Dome). Despite how people say the KeyArena site isn’t big enough it actually covers the full footprint of most other arenas. They’ll have to be very careful with the entrances and exits and where they put loading docks for the new arena, the edges are pretty tight.
In the following pictures I’ve outlined the SoDo arena property ArenaCo’s WSA Properties affiliate owns with a red box and put these other NBA+hockey arenas as a semi-transparent overlay. Some scaling was needed on the Google Maps images when comparing cities far away. Google Maps doesn’t have a consistent zoom level from one area to another. I did my best with GIMP but I’ll include source links if you think I’ve messed up my scaling.
New Arena Google Maps
Chesapeake Energy Arena OKC
Amway Center – Orlando FL
Note that the Amway Center’s bonds were downgraded to “junk” status in 2010 with default predicted in as little as 30 months.
Prudential Center – Newark NJ
This is the most recent NBA/NHL arena which actually has the NHL playing there. Also note that the naming rights were sold for 20 years for $105M towards construction
Time Warner Arena – Charlotte NC
Toyota Center – Houston TX
American Airlines Center – Dallas
Listed as a 50/50 public/private partnership approved with a very narrow vote the city issued $140M in bonds backed by car rental and hotel taxes that were paid off in 2011. In Dallas the American Airlines Center is surrounded by some nice open spaces so it doesn’t appear as dominating when you’re up close.
TD Garden – Boston MA
Outside my original search window, there is also the TD Garden in Boston. This arena was completed next door to the old Boston Garden, literally. The building walls had 9 inches between them until the Boston Garden was demolished after the new arena was completed. As you can see from Google Maps, TD Garden is built like the Seattle Convention Center is to I5, right over top of the North Station transit hub. Maybe the TD Garden prototype is what Hansen is using when he requires offsite retail, just like the Bruins owners want to do. The TD Garden’s modest cost and small size are likely due to it being nearly entirely privately financed.
I’m sensing a pattern here. The property is pretty tight.
FedExForum TN Google Maps Completed 2004 – round, not good fit
AT&T Center TX Google Maps Completed 2002 – very big
Madison Square Garden?? Google Maps Renovations underway