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Hawks, Thrashers Reportedly Have Two New Prospective Local Owners

Sorry Winnipeg, your chances of taking our Atlanta Thrashers have suffered a setback.

The AJC's Chris Vivlamore reports that there are two investment groups that are progressing in an effort to buy the Atlanta Hawks, the Thrashers and the operating rights to Philips Arena from the Atlanta Spirit. Both of these groups, include a local flavor and would keep the Thrashers in Atlanta according to Vivlamore.

One of those groups will also be looking to develop part of the area around the arena. Those potential owners reportedly met with NHL and NBA officials this week.

While the report did not include the name of the groups looking to purchase the team, if you do a little bit of investigation, you may be able to figure out what developers are poking their noses around in the area.

The most likely area prone for development in immediate vicinity of Philips Arena is "the Gulch" -- an area across from the Arena and CNN Center where some of the tailgating for Atlanta Falcons games happens. Part of that location is slated to become a multi-modal train station for the region.

According to a Jan. 14 article in the AJC, there are three parties interested in developing the train station location. They include Cousins Properties, Jacoby Development and H.J. Russell with The Dawson Co. All three of those companies and some of their principals have Atlanta roots.

Of course, this report is unlikely to put to rest reports from Winnipeggers, who incessantly insist that the Thrashers are moving to their fair metropolis of 700,000 people any day now. They'll continue to claim that Atlanta's hockey team is headed North of the border, where they'll eat some Tim Hortons, tour the Royal Canadian Mint and play hockey in Canada -- the only place where place hockey belongs. Because no silly Southerner can possibly figure out how to make water freeze more or less strap on some blades and skate on that 'iced up" water.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.