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Seattle inches closer to arena that could house NBA or NHL team

Seattle has taken a significant step forward in a long-running arena saga whose culmination could see either an NBA or NHL team playing in the city.

City enters negotiations on renovation of KeyArena, former home of the SuperSonics

Seattle's KeyArena could be renovated to potentially house an NBA or NHL team, pending negotiations and approvals.

Seattle has taken a significant step forward in a long-running arena saga whose culmination could see either an NBA or NHL team playing in the city.

Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday that the city will begin negotiations with the Oak View Group (OVG) on a proposal for a privately financed renovation of city-owned KeyArena, the former home of the Seattle SuperSonics. Plans for the remodel would bring the building up to standards that could attract an NHL or NBA franchise once completed.

While Seattle's history is as a basketball town, the completion of an arena could be the ticket for getting an NHL team into the market first. The NHL has not hidden its interest in Seattle, the number 14 media market in the country and the only market in the top 25 nationally that does not have an NBA or NHL team.

But the NHL has also grown frustrated by the starts and stops of an arena process that's seen more roadblocks than successes.

OVG boosted its proposal by announcing Wednesday that billionaire David Bonderman and filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer were joining the investment group.

The decision to go with OVG is subject to both sides agreeing on details of the proposal and the finalized transaction must receive approval from the city council.

That may prove tougher than it sounds, as numerous community groups have expressed concerns about KeyArena becoming a year-round destination venue in a neighbourhood that has seen a building boom with transportation shortcomings. There's also the question of how much influence Murray's decision will have since he is not running for re-election in November.

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