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Owners reach agreement on land for new arena

SEATTLE -- The Professional Basketball Club cleared a
significant obstacle Monday in its efforts to get a new arena built
for the Seattle SuperSonics and WNBA's Storm.

The group announced an agreement in principle with Dallas-based
Harvest Partners to acquire 21.2 acres of land on the shore of Lake
Washington in south suburban Renton for a potential new arena that
could cost more than $500 million.

"We both see excellent potential for The Landing and the new
events center and believe that together they would provide even
greater economic, cultural and other benefits to the city of
Renton, the region and the state," said Clay Bennett, the
basketball group's chairman.

Bennett has asked the state Legislature for $300 million in
public money for the proposed arena, which appears to have enough
support in the state Senate, but still faces problems in the House.
Jim Kneeland, spokesman for the ownership group, expects movement
this week on the arena proposal and is confident about its chances.

"We have high hopes that if we can get a vote on this thing it
will get it out of the House and Senate," Kneeland said.

The land is owned by Boeing Co. Harvest Partners, part of the
joint venture working on an adjacent mixed-use development called
The Landing, has the first right of refusal for the parcel.
Negotiations have been ongoing for about three months -- mostly
around how the arena would fit within the retail and residential
development plans for The Landing -- and Kneeland expects to have
the agreement finalized in the next week.

"We have been involved in extensive recent discussions and
expect to have a signed definitive agreement soon," said Eliot
Barnett, managing partner of Harvest Partners.

The developers said they expect the first retail stores to open
at The Landing in October, and the first residential phase to open
in 2009.