I’ve made no secret both in this blog and in The Herald that I’m a big proponent of building a new NBA/NHL arena in SoDo. The deal Chris Hansen is offering is, in the opinion of a lot of people smarter than myself, simply too good to pass up. But that doesn’t mean everyone is on board. Plenty of people, most notably the Port of Seattle and other industry in SoDo have expressed concerns that another sports venue in the area will cause too many traffic problems.
Today, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 (ILWU) in Seattle sent a letter to the Seattle and King County councils. In it, the ILWU says a new arena
The letter from ILWU president Cameron Williams says that they welcome the the NBA and NHL to the Seattle area, just not in SoDo.
“We can build an arena anywhere, but we can’t rebuild a world class deep water port terminal anywhere,” the letter says.
The letter also says that up to 4,000 jobs could be lost in the area if an arena is built. Another concern they cite is that a new arena will encourage more growth of entertainment and retail growth, which will hurt maritime industry:
“If this development of an arena is approved, more projects will come on line and city government will be pressured to rezone industrial SoDo for entertainment and retail development. This will mean the eventual eroding of our maritime and industrial economic base. We do not agree that this eroding of these industrial lands and the jobs associated with it are inevitable; whether or not this happens is a matter of choice.”
Just like the Port and Longshore Union didn’t buy the Seattle Department of Transportation study that said a new arena wouldn’t create a traffic nightmare in the area, arena proponents will certainly take issue with some of the claims in this letter, but it is worth a read regardless of your stance to get a better picture of where both sides stand on the issue.
You can read the entire letter by clicking on the link at the top of this post.