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Originally published March 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM | Page modified March 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM

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New basketball/hockey arena would be intimate and noisy

Architects for investor Chris Hansen on Wednesday released the first drawings of the interior of the planned new Seattle sports arena.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Architects for investor Chris Hansen on Wednesday released the first drawings of the interior of the planned new Seattle sports arena.

The accompanying descriptions highlight the intimacy and energy the designers hope to achieve as well as a fan experience that’s more egalitarian and less exclusive than at other sports venues.

The drawings show a steep lower bowl, which puts fans closer to the action and improves sightlines.

The upper seating is dramatically shortened and features three stacked balconies dubbed the “Sonic Rings,” on which fans can stand and scream.

“Having 2,000 to 4,000 fans literally overhanging the game not only creates the most intimate venue in the NBA, but will also provide you with the opportunity to create the loudest, most energetic atmosphere in yet another pro sport — or better yet two!” says Chris Hansen, referring to the possibility of both professional basketball and hockey, on his website www.sonicsarena.com.

Hansen said there will be reduced stratification between seating levels “giving typically premium seating amenities to all our fans.” And instead of exclusive suites that “speak to status superiority and isolation,” Hansen said the design allows for flexible suite layouts to accommodate groups and businesses of different sizes.

Hansen’s design team also released a new drawing of the arena at night with the bladed roof bathed in a cool blue light rather than the orange of previous drawings that had been variously described as a veggie steamer or a sliced ham.

“And in case you missed it, the exterior is a ‘SuperSonic’ jet turbine ... not a flan!” Hansen wrote.

Lynn Thompson: lthompson@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8305. On Twitter @lthompsontimes

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