Sacramento City Council Approves Financing Plan For $391M Kings Arena
The Sacramento City Council yesterday "approved the financing plan" for a $391M NBA Kings arena on the site of the downtown railyard, according to Lillis, Bizjak & Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The council by a 7-2 vote "accepted a nonbinding 'term sheet' agreed to by city officials," the Kings, arena operator AEG and the development firm slated to build the venue. An "overflow crowd began assembling at City Hall more than" three hours before the meeting began. Security officials said that it was "among the largest audiences ever for a City Council meeting." It was a "festive scene inside council chambers and in two other rooms filled to capacity." While the term sheet is "nonbinding, a vote against the financing proposal on Tuesday likely would have derailed the arena process." By approving the plan, the council has "set into motion a series of critical votes in the coming months." The Kings and AEG are "scheduled to pay for half" of the $13M pre-development agreement, which city staffers will "immediately begin drafting." At the same time, the Kings and AEG will "begin work on a memorandum of understanding on revenue sharing and arena expenses." That agreement is "scheduled to be completed" by April 15. Under the plan, the city "will contribute" $255.5M toward the project, while the Kings would contribute $73.25M and "have agreed to a 30-year lease." AEG is "slated to chip in" $58.75M. The venue operator will "share a portion of its profits with the city; officials estimated the city's annual share at between $800,000 and $1.2 million." In addition to the term sheet, the council "also approved spending $850,000 from the city's parking fund to hire a team of consultants to help in the pre-development process" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/7). The AP's Antonio Gonzalez noted the remaining money gap will be "covered by a ticket surcharge, advertising around the facility, the sale of public lands and a sponsorship campaign to sell bricks and plaques around the complex." But Gonzalez wrote Sacramento "cleared the most political hurdle," and the more than four-hour meeting "brought out some animated speakers." Kings co-Owner Gavin Maloof "walked into the chamber just before the meeting to a light standing ovation" (AP, 3/6).
ON-COURT PRODUCT: In Sacramento, Brian Blomster writes the Kings "have work to do," as the team "needs to put an excellent product back on the court." It "looks as if Sacramento will get a fine building for its team," and the city "should demand a fine team for the building" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/7).