Saturday, July 12, 2008

Return to Start, Do not pass Go, Do not collect $150m

Return to Start, do not pass Go, do not collect 150 million dollars.
As we roll the dice in this game with a monopoly I find myself back at "Go"; back to being a baby born after the World's Fair and before NBA basketball came to town. What do we do with the Seattle Center, the park, the buildings, the Coliseum?

In the late 1950's, and early 1960's, Seattle University was a basketball powerhouse. Transitioning college fans to NBA fans was likely much easier than transitioning a public building to business use. We are not completely back the Start, there are competing ideas on which of two paths to take:
Rebuild what is now Key Arena that is within a much larger public land site;
or, private business builds its own building on a much larger commercial site.

I'll start with the private business path. I am descibing it as part of a larger commercial site because I do not see an incentive for the City of Seattle, or King County, to participate in creating a venue that directly competes with the interests of public lands that have already been allicated to this type of venture. Where could a private group locate a site roughly the size of Seattle Center.

We have seen much of the Seattle Center idea, it is the most likely.
Maybe we can get a building or rebuild, for the NHL?
Now is the time to push that idea, and for enough NHL fans to contact your representitives, to encourage them allow Seattle the taxing authority to fund Seattle Center.
Private parties will wait for government to fail (again?) unless they see real competition. We need at least two competing ideas that reach for the best possible outcome.

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