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April 1, 2008 12:35 PM

Emerald City Dreaming

Posted by Jayda Evans

It's not an April Fool's joke, but it's one of the biggest pipedreams since turning the viaduct into a six-lane highway. Sonics legend Fred Brown and Dave Bean unveiled plans for a new basketball/hockey arena today and it is wicked. Check out the Web site here. The design was inspired by the Sydney Opera House, but I'm also seeing a hint of the Star Trek Enterprise.

The cost? Oh, about $1-1.2 billion. Don't worry though, it's 100 percent privately financed. Do worry because not even Brown and Bean know by whom at this point. That's where the pipe dreaming comes in.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett unveiled a beautiful design, too. Remember the pictures of the $500 million Renton facility? While Bennett didn't own the land or have the money either, he did have the avenue and some support, including that of NBA commissioner David Stern. Brown and Bean have neither, but legend Bill Russell did roll through the press conference. And Bean and Brown have had discussions with city, county, and state officials in addition to Bennett. Still, thee duo was mute when the topic of money popped up at the press conference.

"[It's] A very viable approach to making an arena work in this market," said Bean in reference to the facility.

According to Percy, who attended, the catch phrases were "Big" and "Vision." And the facility is both. There's a retractable roof, a would-be first in the NBA, and space for housing, a cultural center and hall of fame. But I wouldn't get too excited. This is more of the closed door talking that I've heard rumbling around, but without a financial plan, NBA fans are stuck with the reality that the Sonics are moving to Oklahoma City as soon as Bennett can get the bags packed.

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