Metropolitan King County Council
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
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July 11, 2012
Ferguson calls for independent Economic Impact Analysis to be included in any final arena deal
Require analysis of jobs and economic impacts Metropolitan King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson today called for an independent, detailed study of the economic and job impacts of the proposed arena. Ferguson announced he will propose an amendment that would require an Economic Impact Analysis as part of the arena memorandum of understanding (MOU) currently being considered by the King County and Seattle City Councils. The Economic Impact Analysis would be performed after the MOU has been approved as part of the next stages of review and permitting and before any issuance of public financing for the project.
“The development of an NBA and NHL arena has the potential to impact important segments of our economy, including construction, tourism, and maritime industries,” said Ferguson. “We must take an independent look to evaluate the impacts—positive and negative—on the region’s economy.”
The King County Council and Seattle City Council are currently reviewing a proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development of an approximately $500 million multi-purpose arena in Seattle’s stadium district. Under the proposed MOU negotiated between County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and private investor Chris Hansen, up to $200 million would be financed through public bonds paid back from rents and tax revenues generated by the facility.
Ferguson will be proposing an amendment to the MOU requiring an Economic Impact Analysis of the project. The robust analysis will study the micro and macroeconomic impacts that may result from the construction and operation of the proposed arena, including changes in employment, economic activity, and tax revenues in the area south of downtown Seattle.
The Economic Impact Analysis will also examine the arena’s projected effect on the overall regional economy and its compatibility with regional economic development plans. Finally, the analysis will assess the impact on the area’s women- and minority-owned businesses.
“While I am still considering my position on the proposed arena, if the MOU is approved, this type of economic analysis is essential to truly understand the economic costs and benefits of the project before the final commitment of public funds is made,” said Ferguson.
The current proposed MOU contains provisions requiring the arena project to undergo a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review prior to any public financing. This SEPA review will examine the environmental consequences of the project, including the natural environment, environmental health, land use, transportation, public services and utilities. The Economic Impact Analysis will provide an in-depth study of the project’s impact on local jobs and regional economic activity during construction and operation.
“Statements have been made on both sides of this issue about how the proposed arena will affect jobs and economic growth in our region,” said Ferguson. “We need an independent analysis to sort out the competing claims and give the public full information before public funds are committed.”
As proposed by Councilmember Ferguson, the Economic Impact Analysis will be completed in a process similar to the SEPA review, with the selection of an independent consultant and all costs paid for by ArenaCo. Ferguson proposes completing the study by the end of 2012 to provide timely answers to key questions about the project’s economic costs and benefits.
King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson and Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien held a town hall meeting on the arena proposal yesterday. More than 250 community members attended to ask questions and discuss the issue.