SBD/August 26, 2013/Facilities

NBA Kings Hire AECOM To Lead Construction Of $448M Downtown Arena Project

AECOM will take the lead in designing Kings' downtown arena
The NBA Kings announced that they have "filled out their downtown arena construction team with the hiring of AECOM," according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Kings President Chris Granger said that the firm "will take the lead this fall and next spring" in designing a $448M arena in Downtown Plaza. The group "will work in a Sacramento studio to enhance local input." Granger said that the facility will be "the most technologically advanced and noisiest arena in the world." He added that construction is "expected to start next August or September." Bizjak noted AECOM "has been lead architect for 11 NBA arenas" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/25). A SACRAMENTO BEE editorial stated the STOP group, pushing for a citywide vote on the Kings' new arena, "lost credibility" when former Kings bidder Chris Hansen was revealed as the mystery donor who paid for much of the petition drive. The group previously was seen "blasting city leaders for supposedly concealing the true size of the arena's public subsidy." The editorial: "There's no avoiding that big money is a big part of our democracy. That makes it essential that voters know where the cash is coming from" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/25).

ALL ABOUT STEVE: In Seattle, Brier Dudley wrote Hansen's "local boy who loved the Sonics" image has been "tainted by revelations of his political skulduggery." Former Kings co-bidder Steve Ballmer now has the opportunity to "take a more prominent role in the campaign" to bring a team back to Seattle. Perhaps Ballmer, who recently announced he will step down from his role as Microsoft CEO, "will buy out Hansen’s stake and take over the effort." Ballmer "would be a force" in the NBA, and "not just because he’d be the wealthiest owner, but because of the rare combination of personal skills and analytical capabilities that have enabled him to steadily grow Microsoft sales and profits." Perhaps Ballmer "would also pursue an arena on the Eastside, closer to his home, rather than the complex and controversial commercial real estate venture anchored by an arena that Hansen is trying to assemble in Seattle’s industrial zone." Dudley: "Who knows -- maybe Ballmer could even take over Paul Allen’s sports franchises in Seattle and Portland if Allen decides to move on." Ballmer has been "spotted visiting Seahawks offices" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 8/23).
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