Joining the Seattle Hockey Partners ownership group for the planned 2020 debut of the NHL expansion franchise were a couple of last names familiar to Seattle sports fans: Ackerley and Hanauer.
Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer, along with twin brothers Chris and Ted Ackerley, sons of former Sonics owner Barry Ackerley, were among seven local business executives added Wednesday as local principal owners in a group headed by Los Angeles-area majority owner David Bonderman and partner Jerry Bruckheimer.
The group will be part of a presentation Oct. 2 to the executive committee of the NHL Board of Governors, where the award of an expansion franchise will be formally considered. If approved, the project will advance to the full board at a December meeting.
Oak View Group, headed by Tim Leiweke, is re-developing KeyArena with more than $700 million in private funds. The group hopes to begin demolition in October to meet an aggressive timetable that concludes with the opening of the NHL season in 2020.
“It is with great pride that we welcome these local investors and their families to our group as we strive to secure an NHL franchise,” said Tod Leiweke, president and CEO of Seattle Hockey Partners and a former Seahawks CEO, in a release ahead of a press conference.
David Wright, head of Grousement Associates real estate development firm and a board member of the Space Needle Corp., was named vice chairman of Hockey Partners. Joining him is brother Jeffrey Wright, who are two of the five children of Howard S. Wright, who helped develop the Space Needle for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.
Andy Jassy, who joined Amazon in 1997 and has been Amazon Web Services president since 2016, brings the clout of Seattle’s most influential company. According to Geekwire, AWS, the market leader in cloud computing, generated $6.1 billion in revenues last quarter. Jassy, a big New York sports fan who built a sports bar in his home, in 2016 was Amazon’s highest paid employee at $35.6 million, according to Fortune magazine.
Jay Deutsch, founder of Seattle-based Bensussen Deutsch & Associates that has worked with the Seahawks marketing since 1984, rounds out the group.
Tim Leiweke, leader of Oak View Group, which is redeveloping KeyArena for concerts and the NHL, was joined Wednesday at the press conference by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to announce three agreements reached between the city and the developers, who have pledged at least $700 million in private funds to the project.
The documents — a development agreement for the new arena, a long-term ease agreement and an integration agreement — were released to the public and Seattle City Council.
“We are making tremendous progress and are looking forward to these next few weeks as we move into the City Council’s review of our agreements,” Leiweke said in a statement. “These agreements reflect tremendous hard work by all sides. This is a process that we hope will conclude shortly as we’re ready to start breaking ground on an arena that will be world class when completed.”
Majority owner Bonderman, an investment banker who graduated from the University of Washington, said, “After long and detailed negotiations with the city we are pleased that these agreements, critical to redevelopment of the new Seattle Center Arena, are moving forward to the City Council for consideration.
“We value everyone’s feedback and recognize there will be some inconveniences. We’re working diligently to address near-term concerns and we are committed to being great listeners and neighbors.”