Seattle team chase faces challenges

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Chris McGann) reports: The latest plan to bring pro basketball back to Seattle now that its team has been sold and moved to Oklahoma City faces enormous challenges as it heads to the 2009 legislative session. The city of Seattle proposal for financing a major remodel of KeyArena — a prerequisite for getting a new NBA team — would raise $75 million with a 1 percent Seattle hotel tax currently collected to pay debt on the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. The city would provide another $75 million with revenue and admissions taxes from KeyArena. A group of investors, including Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Seattle developer Matt Griffin, is seeking to buy a new NBA team to play in Seattle and has agreed to contribute $150 million to for the arena upgrade. But all of that depends on persuading state lawmakers to allow the city to keep that 1 percent hotel tax.

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