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Washington state Indian tribe unveils study supporting new Sonics arena

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: September 18, 2007 at 12:56 pm •  Published: September 18, 2007
The report says KeyArena has a slight advantage in households with higher income, but Auburn has a marginally higher income for all other income percentages.

The potential Auburn arena is projected to cost almost $50 million less than the state-of-the-art multipurpose facility that Bennett proposed in Renton, another Seattle suburb. The proposed Renton project, which had an identical seating capacity as an Auburn, called for $300 million in public support. But it was never allowed to be voted on by the state legislature.

Fatland said the Muckleshoot Tribe became more serious about offering its land when no progress was being made between the Sonics and the city of Seattle and state of Washington.

Fatland said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire was also sent the study late last week and that Bennett did respond via e-mail on Saturday morning to thank the tribe for the study.

Holly Armstrong, a spokeswoman for Gov. Gregoire, said the report was received by the governor's office on Friday, but as of late Monday Armstrong said Gregoire had not read the report.

Although Fatland repeatedly referred to the next step as being "a regional decision,” made primarily by Gov. Gregoire and three local businessmen she recently assembled to analyze arena options, Armstrong declined to weigh in on the study or place any future onus solely on the state. She added that Gregoire doesn't have any meetings scheduled with Bennett.

"It's not a deal between the Muckleshoots and the governor at this point,” Armstrong said. "This was a market analysis that was unsolicited that they submitted. (Gov. Gregoire) will certainly keep it in mind if and when a proposal comes. You have to remember, the (Oct. 31) deadline is not a state deadline. It's a deadline that was imposed by the Sonics. Everybody's not working on the same timeline.”

According to the study, Seattle-area businesses would prefer an arena in downtown Seattle, Bellevue or Renton. But the study showed that businesses would support an Auburn site if it was the only option that would keep the Sonics in the Seattle area.


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