Part of the big $500 million NBA/NHL arena deal stipulates that the city will buy the land that Chris Hansen, the San Francisco hedge-fund manager who's pledging $290 million in the deal, purchased late last year in SoDo to build the arena. A spokesman for Chris Hansen says the city will pay Hansen "fair-market value," whatever that ends up being, if and when Hansen secures a team and sells the land to the city. That value will be determined, Mayor Mike McGinn's spokesman Aaron Pickus says, through a third-party independent assessment before the city buys the land.

Hansen, as at least one commenter here at PubliCola pointed out in the threads, bought one of the parcels where the arena would go for $22 million; his spokesman, Peter McCollum, says he does not know precisely how much Hansen spent for the rest of the land, which is made up of several small parcels but encompasses about the same square footage as the $22 million parcel.

Officially, the city and county have pledged to spend as much as $100 million for the land. That's about four times as much as what Hansen paid for half the arena land.

McCollum says the $100 million figure was "a placeholder being used for the budgeting process ... a safe figure for what it would be in the end when you take all the pieces of property and put them together."

The city has pledged to spend up to $200 million, total, on the arena deal, which is to be recouped through ticket sales and TV licensing deals. If the cost for buying land exceeds $100 million, Hansen's consultant Rollin Fatland says, the city still would not be on the hook for more than the $200 million that's earmarked for the project total. "Whether he makes a profit on the land or not, he knows he is still stuck with the same costs for the completion of the [arena]," Fatland says.

Hall Walker, the city budget office official who has been working on the arena deal, has not yet returned a call for comment about the cost of the land.
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