SBD/February 4, 2013/Facilities

Sacramento's Downtown Plaza Gains Momentum As Site For NBA Kings Arena

Downtown Plaza was previously considered as a possible arena site in '10
Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza mall site is “suddenly gaining favor as a possible home" for the NBA Kings, according to a front-page piece by Kasler & Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. City Manager John Shirey is “preparing to study how an arena could fit at the mall.” However, city officials said that they “haven't abandoned the railyard site at the northern edge of downtown -- home to the arena proposal that was blessed by the NBA but abandoned last spring by the Kings' owners, the Maloofs.” But Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle's “enthusiasm for Downtown Plaza has altered the arena landscape.” Unlike the railyard, the mall is “in the heart of the central city and provides greater opportunity for spinoff commercial development.” Burkle on Friday also emerged “as a bidder for arena operator AEG, which already has pledged its support for a new NBA building in Sacramento.” If he does buy AEG, "that could strengthen Sacramento's hand in the tug-of-war over the Kings.” Downtown Plaza “offers some advantages in terms of bringing a project to fruition quickly.” It is “private property,” so a mall conversion “would be spared much of the red tape involved at the city-owned arena site in the railyard.” But one potential “hitch to the mall site is parking.” AECOM Sports Architecture Dir Bill Crockett, whose firm conducted a study for Downtown Plaza owner JMA Ventures, said that the study “envisions building the arena partly below ground, eliminating many of the 3,700 parking spots beneath the mall.” But city officials said that there are “still thousands of parking spaces within walking distance that would be freed up for evening events.” A source said that JMA “has discussed building office, retail, residential and entertainment space in conjunction with the arena” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/3).
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