SEATTLE – On the day Sacramento's arena deal fell apart, Chris Hansen is once again in Seattle.
The hedge fund manager -- and man behind the Seattle Arena proposal -- met with various county and city leaders in an attempt to craft a Memorandum of Understanding for the $490 million project. Hansen declined to comment on the negotiations and what happened in the Golden State earlier in the day.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced that city's arena deal is dead, after two days of meetings with the Maloof family, which owns the NBA's Kings. Johnson was a chief negotiator for a planned sports and entertainment complex in the River City. Johnson said he had a handshake deal with the Maloofs for an arena last month, and agreement to keep the franchise in Sacramento for years to come.
However, he accuses the Maloofs of walking away from that deal, saying Friday "this door is closed."
"I think what we brought forward was a was a fair deal, and I feel like if they wanted to do it, could do it, and it made some sense to do it they could have 100 percent done it, and they decided not to," Johnson said.
Johnson hinted that the Maloofs did not have "adequate collateral" for their portion of the $390 million project.
The Maloofs told the Sacramento Bee they have no immediate plans to relocate the franchise. Maloof Spokesperson, Eric Rose told KING 5, in response to a question about relocation: "It means that the Kings will continue the operations of the organization and building on the franchise's young nucleus of players -- nothing more."
Hansen reiterated Friday that he's focused on the Seattle arena project for now. Getting a Memorandum of Understanding in place would give Hansen the green light to proceed on the project if teams are acquired.
Sources in City Hall and King County government indicate that agreement could be forwarded to the City and County councils as early as next week. The hang-up could be which government entity shoulders what portion the debt load, which Hansen has agreed to cap at $200 million, and would be repaid through arena generating revenue, like admissions fees. Hansen has already agreed to assemble $290 million in private money for the project.
Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell said Friday he believes the County, City, and Hansen are close to deal, and that Seattle can afford to handle a good portion of the debt. He also expressed disappointment for Sacramento, but added, "We need to be in the right position if the opportunity presents itself."
Mayor Mike McGinn agrees.
"As we see from the Sacramento situation, sometimes things move fast," says Mayor Mike McGinn Friday night. "So we want to make sure we're positioned should there be an opportunity."