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Washington tribe offers to donate land

18 September 2007

AUBURN, Washington -- As reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "The Muckleshoot Tribe announced its willingness Monday to donate a 26.5-acre parcel of land to any group that wants to build an NBA arena in Auburn. But is Sonics owner Clay Bennett interested?

"Bennett and Gov. Chris Gregoire received copies of a now-complete feasibility study showing the property adjacent to Emerald Downs racetrack as a viable site for a multi-purpose arena, as well as the tribe's offer of free use of their land and parking for the project.

"Bennett responded to the Muckleshoots by e-mail, offering his thanks and an indication he'd get back to the tribe.

"...Emerald Downs owner Ron Crockett, who leases the property his track sits on from the Muckleshoots, had lunch with Bennett two weeks ago when the Oklahoma City businessman toured the site for the first time. He came away with a revised view of Bennett's intentions.

"...The Muckleshoot offer is contingent on someone stepping up with a financing plan for a potential 18,500-seat arena that would cost about $415 million in current dollars, according to Jason Thompson, senior associate for Brailsford & Dunlavy, a Washington, D.C., firm hired by the Muckleshoots to conduct the feasibility study.

"...Emerald Downs would provide use of its 5,400 parking spots. A 1,500-stall parking garage as well as 1,820 additional surface spots could be added on the 26-acre site adjacent to the proposed arena, which would take up about nine acres on its own..."

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