Sacramento Arena Plan Facing Tough Timeline As Public Forum Looms On March 21
Sacramento City Manager John Shirey yesterday said that he "expects a detailed plan" for a new downtown sports arena to house the NBA Kings to be "released in time for a public forum at City Hall the evening of March 21," according Lillis, Bizjak & Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. However, Shirey did describe the timeline as "compacted." That timing would "give the public and the City Council five days to explore the proposal before the council votes on the plan March 26." Shirey said that the city has "already undergone several days of intense negotiations" with Penguins co-Owner and Kings bidder Ron Burkle on the financing of a new arena at the Downtown Plaza. Those talks have "taken place over hours of conference calls involving Dan Barrett, the city's top arena finance consultant; an assistant city manager, and one of Burkle's top lieutenants from his private equity firm, Yucaipa." Shirey said, "We have a very short period of time to do a lot of things." He described the talks with Burkle "as smooth." Shirey said that Burkle's team "had not settled on an exact location within Downtown Plaza for an arena as of Monday night." The city also had "not been told how much the facility was expected to cost." But a source said that the sports and entertainment center "would cost roughly" $400M (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/13). In Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes under the header, "Sacramento Arena Plan Is A Rush Job." The public is "left on the sidelines, asked to root for a deal devoid of facts and yet facing an up or down vote from the NBA in mere weeks." Shirey has been "tasked with crafting a massive public financing deal in a matter of days -- the kind of plan other cities have taken years to devise" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/13).