Chris Hansen: Meet the man with the plan for NBA arena | The Seattle Times
Those who dared to taste “The Man” often walked out with bumper stickers to advertise their courage: “I met 'The Man' at Dixie's BBQ. Yeah. Seattle Foundation provides the expertise, network of partners and research that enables philanthropists to maximize their impact in meeting our community's. Seattle Traffic: your online resource for the #SeattleSqueeze Meet the mayor and her Key Staff Members, and learn how to work within her administration.
Longtime dream Hansen, dressed in a suit and an open-collared shirt, said he wants to recapture that feeling by translating his business success and making a significant personal investment, along with other investors, in a new arena and NBA team. The National Hockey League also has expressed a strong interest in Seattle if an arena is built, prompting speculation about the financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes moving to Seattle.
Hansen described his interest as building an arena and attracting an NBA franchise, saying others would have to come forward with a hockey proposal.
He declined to say if hockey is crucial to a profitable arena, although others have said that it would be. Hansen, who has acquired property in the Sodo neighborhood just south of the Safeco Field parking garage, declined to discuss details of his proposal, citing continuing discussions with Seattle and King County officials. He characterized the talks as sensitive and complex, saying the proposal was a long way from becoming a reality and that it could easily be derailed.
But he said no new teams would be added to the league, meaning another franchise would have to relocate to Seattle. He gave no details about financing or specific plans for the arena, but he seemed to want to get to know council members, she said.
Council members will be briefed on the arena proposal Thursday morning.
Rather, he said, the terms of the arena proposal should stand on their own merits. McGinn said potential investors are aware that city voters in overwhelmingly approved an initiative that says the city must make a profit on any investment it makes in a sport arena.
As part of a deal, the city could be asked to allow taxes on admissions, parking and increased property values in the area around an arena to be used to pay off debt, according to sources familiar with the arena discussions. But there are almost certain to be sharp questions, centered on traffic, parking and future development around an arena. Both the Seattle Mariners and maritime and industrial interests in the Sodo District likely will have concerns. Hansen said the proposed arena site is an ideal place, because it already is zoned for stadiums, would have minimal impact on the surrounding community and has convenient access to freeways.
He also noted that interest rates are low, making it easier to finance an arena. His visit to The Times represented his first public step in introducing himself to the region, helped by a high-profile public-relations firm with experience in navigating Seattle stadium deals.
According to a biography supplied by his representatives, he was born in San Francisco and moved to Seattle in with his mother after his parents separated.
But I was fortunate to see the other side of David Heerensperger. Under that armor was the heart and soul of the kindest man you could ever hope to meet.
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Heerensperger was born in in Longview. His first jobs included pumping gas and doing inventory for hardware-store owner Stanley Thurman, according to his biographer and former Seattle Times reporter Gary Dougherty.
Heerensperger worked his way up, he began sponsoring Spokane sports, including hydroplane racing, softball, drag racing, football, basketball, baseball, hockey and bowling teams. Heerensperger soon after became chairman and CEO. Heerensperger would walk through the stores to ensure the white-tile floors were polished, items were perfectly straight on the shelves and employees were experts on inventory.
After selling Eagle, Mr. Heerensperger tried to retire, sailing to the Mediterranean on a foot yacht with an person crew and personal chef, according to a Seattle Times article.
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But he returned a year later to launch yet another business, founding World Lighting and Design at the age of Hydroplane and horse racing Mr. Heerensperger bought his own hydroplane in and immediately began racking up victories. Hydroplane racing was extremely dangerous during this time, recalled Stephen Shepperd, who wrote a book on the Diamond Cup hydroplane races.