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Arena investors revealed: Ballmer and Nordstroms back the project

The Associated Press

The team backing a new sports arena in Seattle began coming into focus today, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and two members of the Nordstrom family putting their money behind the proposed venue. They’re the first to go publicas part of hedge fund manager Chris Hansen’s team of private investors.

They are trying to sell the city and King County on a new, nearly half-billion dollar sports complex designed to host pro basketball and hockey teams. City Council members say they won’t make a decision before learning the identities of all the investors. Councilmember Tim Burgess says Ballmer and Peter and Erik Nordstrom are a good start.

“These individuals are known in our community and they’re respected, so I think it’s great that they’re part of that team. But it’s important that the Council continue to do its du diligence, and we will do that,” Burgess said.

The deal calls for the city and county to put up as much as $200 million dollars for the project, to be repaid through taxes generated by the venue. Chris Hansen is expected to address the King County Council next Tuesday and the City Council the day after. Councilmember Burgess says the city is on track to make a decision by mid-August.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.