Authors: Iain Watt
March 26, 2013
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
This paper was written in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and with support from the Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. The construction of the planned multi-sport arena in the SoDo district will be a defining moment for Seattle. Not only will it restore the NBA to the city, it has the opportunity to catalyze development in the district and – in conjunction with the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel and waterfront development – help set SoDo on a development course for the next several decades. This opportunity presents tremendous potential and prospective pitfalls. The $200 million public bonding contribution is not merely a financing mechanism; it represents a deliberate choice to invest in the SoDo district over alternate projects and programs, and the City must approach the development with that mindset. This report focuses on key issues that the City of Seattle must assess and act upon to maximize the impact of this investment and the social benefit of adding new sports teams and a world-class arena.
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