SBD/Issue 112/Facilities & Venues

NBA To Unveil Proposal Friday For New Kings Arena At Cal Expo

Kings' Owners Say They Are
Losing Money At Arco Arena
NBA officials Friday "will unveil an ambitious plan to turn much of Cal Expo into a densely packed urban community" with an arena for the Kings as its centerpiece, according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The proposal to be presented to the Cal Expo board reportedly "would wipe the slate clean at the 40-year-old fairground, eliminating the horse-racing track, the grandstands, the livestock pavilions and other buildings." Town houses, apartments, offices, stores and restaurants "would sprout on a new street grid, anchored by the arena and a site for what Cal Expo officials have billed as a modern State Fairground and year-round event center." Sacramento city officials have "hailed the plan as dramatic on three fronts: as a prototype for urban development in Sacramento; as the move that could finally give the Kings what they want to stay in town; and as a financial boost for a fading State Fair." But questions "remain unanswered: How will the project be funded? How many years will it take to build? Will any developer sign on in this down economy? And, will the Kings stick around long enough to see it all happen?" Baltimore-based Moag & Co. CEO John Moag, a consultant working for the NBA on this project, said, "We have about a year to put something together that makes sense. If we miss that opportunity, we do have a problem on our hands." Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof said that they are "losing money as a bad economy and poor play by the team leave more empty seats" at Arco Arena. But Joe Maloof earlier this month "repeated his long-standing mantra: The team has roots in Sacramento, it is part of the community, and he hopes an arena deal can be arranged here." NBA reps said that Friday they will offer the Cal Expo board "its first view of a master-plan proposal for the state site, including proposed financing, consultants' analysis and artistic renderings." The board is "expected to convene a second meeting in March to vote on whether to sign an agreement with the NBA for the fairground model" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/27). 

IN THE DARK: State Assembly member Dave Jones, who serves on the Cal Expo BOD, said that he had "met with NBA officials on Wednesday and had been brief[ed] about the broad outlines of the plan, but he said he was provided no details." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said that he had also "requested a briefing on the plan prior to the meeting, but he had not yet received one" (MSNBC.com, 2/27).

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