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Seattle Stadium Plan

From Ron Stickney:

Finally, some "official" news to confirm the rumors that Paul Allen's group plans to broaden appeal for a new Seahawks football stadium by designing it for both soccer and gridiron use. Excerpted from this morning's PI article:

Latest Allen proposal to include MLS soccer

Those who are bewildered by the logic of replacing the Kingdome with a $402 million stadium complex including exhibition hall for just 10 football games a year ought to consider that Paul Allen also sees the new stadium as a potential site for a Major League Soccer franchise.

In its lobbying effort to win legislative approval of a funding plan for the project, Paul Allen's Football Northwest group is referring to the project as a football and soccer stadium. Landing a Major League Soccer franchise would bring 25 games a year to the new stadium. MLS officials consider Seattle a prime market, but the city does not now qualify for a franchise because it lacks a natural-grass stadium that meets league requirements.

Seventy percent of the 75,000 seats in the proposed stadium would be covered by a roof structure along the sidelines. There would be no roof over fans in the end zones. Seats in the northern end zone would be kept low to allow a view of the downtown Seattle skyline. The south end would have no roof so that sunlight could enter, which is necessary to sustain the natural grass field.

The proposed stadium, which Football Northwest hopes to have ready for the 2002 NFL season, would meet the MLS specifications. The new stadium would replace the existing Kingdome, which can't be torn down until the Mariners are in their new baseball stadium in 1999 (or 2000).

Allen might consider acquiring an MLS franchise if a new Seahawks stadium is built.

Washington Governer Gary Locke last week introduced a funding plan for the stadium that hinges on a tax on sports memorabilia, which would finance about half the cost of the project. The tax proposal would be subject to a statewide public vote in June.

If the memorabilia tax is approved by voters, the Metropolitan King County Council would be expected to approve local tax increases to fund much of the remaining stadium costs.

Allen would kick in $100 million by writing a check for $50 million and the rest from sales of personal seat licenses.

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