KeyArena bidders hold open house even as Chris Hansen fights back

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SEATTLE — The once and possible future home of the Sonics needs fixing, and Seattle may finally have found its way to repair KeyArena.

Oakview Group (OVG) and Seattle Partners unveiled their plans at an open house at KEXP’s lobby Thursday night.

“What is their main goal? It`s to make a profit, not to bring the Sonics back. And I think that`s a fundamental difference between them and Hansen,” said skeptical sports fan Justin Baghai.

Because he mentioned that name: Hansen.

Even when it isn’t involved—the Sodo project looms large.

Developer Chris Hansen's group released a scathing analysis paper right before the open house that blasts OVG and Seattle Partners.

It says the KeyArena groups are disingenuous about wanting public financing---OVG wants possible Port of Seattle money for a garage, Seattle Partners wants more than $200 million in city bonds.

That was the same financing wrinkle Hansen wanted to use before going fully private.

Baghai says that’s still the better deal.

“The city`s changed. The city`s exploding. And I don`t think there`s political appetite for taxpayer money going to an arena,” he said.

Lance Lopes, with OVG, countered quickly---saying this proposal is the first step.

“Everything`s negotiable, right? We`ll get into that discussion with the city,” he said.

Lopes believes their plan is much different than Seattle Partners because they'll pay for the garage expansion themselves, but said it doesn't hurt to ask the Port for help.

The rest is on them.

“We will build this on our own dime. We will take all the risk. We will take all of the overhead, all the cost overruns, all of that. All of that will be done by us,” Lopes said.

We wanted to ask Seattle Partners about their pitch to neighbors and the city. They refused to provide anyone to talk to Q13 News and gave no comment of any kind to us.

But the scrutiny will continue.

Eventually, the mayor will choose between the two projects and then make his case to the City Council, which will have the final say.

Hansen's team told us they expect another vote on street vacation later this year.

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