Getting Seattle's Priorities Straight

Jordan Royer weighs in on two major developments in the Emerald City, and why the one that flew under the radar should have taken center stage.
February 24, 2012, 9am PST | Ryan Lue
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Last week bore two great windfalls for the City of Seattle. First, investors unveiled a proposal to build a multi-purpose sports and entertainment center that would restore the city's beloved basketball team, which left for Oklahoma City in 2008. Then, online retail giant Amazon.com announced plans to expand its operations, adding 3 million square feet of office space, and the thousands of high-paying jobs that come with it.

But according to Royer, Seattleites have committed far too much attention to news of the sports arena for what little they have paid to Amazon. "In most cities this would be the biggest deal in decades," he writes. "There would be press conferences, celebrations, and photo ops."

Instead, it "was pushed to the 'also happened today' status last week," overshadowed by the prospect of regaining Seattle's long-lost Supersonics. While conceding that sports culture resonates with the public imagination, Royer expresses skepticism about the economic strength of the proposed arena, saying, "the year-to-year economics of an NBA franchise don't add up."

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Published on Monday, February 20, 2012 in Crosscut
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