Venture capitalist to fund arena traffic study

SEATTLE — A venture capitalist who wants to build a sports arena to bring professional basketball back to Seattle will pay for a study to determine the impacts on traffic and parking following objections by his potential neighbor — the Seattle Mariners.

Without disclosing its price, Chris Hansen pledged Thursday to pay for the study, which he hopes will be concluded in between six to eight weeks by a private consultant.

“At the end of the day I am also a Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners fan. I think we all want a good solution for having games down in this area,” said Hansen, who was flanked by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Hansen has proposed a new arena that would cost between $450 and $500 million and would include $290 million in private investment. Hansen’s group would also be responsible for the purchase of an NBA franchise and finding a partner interested in bringing an NHL franchise to Seattle.

But earlier this week, the Mariners sent a letter to the county and city opposing the idea of a new multipurpose arena, citing concerns about traffic and scheduling of events taking place in an area.

The Mariners issued a statement following the announcement, saying that the team is “very supportive of this process” and looks forward to being involved.

“We have a lot of experience down here because we have lived it every day for over 12 years,” the statement said.

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