SEATTLE — In a letter to Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire on Thursday, Seattle SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett revealed his proposed arena project could cost upward of $500 million. Bennett said the building itself would be between $340 and $360 million. That does not include the cost of the land, parking and infrastructure, which could cost an additional $150 million to $170 million. By comparison, land used for the $90 million Ford Center in downtown Oklahoma City had an assessed value of $804,150. In addition to seating at least 18,000 for basketball, the proposed multi-purpose structure near Seattle would be designed to accommodate the NHL, arena football, concerts and large meetings or conventions. Bennett said two sites are being considered: In Renton, near the city's new retail and housing development; and near the Bellevue central business district. Funding for the project would require at least $300 million in tax revenue funded by the state, Bennett said in the letter that was shared with The Oklahoman. Those taxes would be collected in King County and would require the approval of the King County Council and Executive. Bennett said he will ask the state legislature to authorize an extension of the one-half of one percent hotel, restaurant and rental car tax inside King County. Bennett and his Oklahoma City-based ownership group, The Professional Basketball Club LLC, also will contribute an amount that has yet to be determined. If a new arena in the Seattle area is not agreed upon by Oct. 31, 2007, Bennett and his group have the option to move the Sonics and WNBA Storm franchises, to Oklahoma City if they choose. The PBC purchased the Sonics and Storm last July for $350 million. Bennett has said the proposed arena would be similar to Denver's Pepsi Center, site of the next Democratic National Convention.
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