May 24 2009
My voting record and policy preferences would strongly suggest that I am a proponent of economic development and an advocate of small business. As you may know, I am working on the development of a purchasing co-op with the goal of bringing small businesses together as a coalition to gain purchasing power. A recent article by Seattle Times’ columnist Steve Kelley and a letter from a Seattle Center merchant described an issue that I have been asking about during the development of the Seattle Center master plan. I believe many businesses in the Seattle Center/Uptown area are hurting and one major factor could be the loss of the Sonics.
According to the Kelley article, a Seattle Center restaurant owner was given an oral guarantee that the Sonics would call Key Arena home at least until the end of the 2010 season. As a result of the departure of the Sonics, her business is down 55 percent. The owner goes on to say that it feels like a ghost town. One of my staff members walks through the Center House every day on his way home from work. He has wondered how any of the restaurants can continue to stay in business. At 6:00 p.m. on a weekday, there is virtually nobody there, with exception to a concert or a Storm game. With the loss of the Sonics, these businesses lost at least 41 great nights of high volume business (and more if they made the playoffs). Some owners claim that one night of the Sonics could make up for four slow days of business. Kelley goes on to narrate that just outside of Seattle Center in Uptown at least three restaurants have closed in the last eight months and how most of the businesses in that neighborhood are small mom-and-pop operations.