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Volume 24 No. 155
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Sacramento Commission Approves NBA Kings' Arena Design Plans Ahead Of City Council Vote

The NBA Kings' proposed $448M downtown arena "took a step toward reality Thursday with initial City Hall approval of the building design and hundreds of pages of planning and environmental documents, zoning changes and variances," according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The Sacramento Planning & Design Commission's approvals "are a necessary step prior to final City Council approval." The council "is scheduled to review the arena deal and the planning and environmental documents on May 13." The commission "notably gave its OK to an agreement for the Kings to eventually build 1.5 million feet of ancillary development around the Fifth and K streets arena site despite requests by unions to delay that approval until union job issues are resolved, and despite concerns expressed by some that the ancillary development agreement has few details on what the Kings would build there." Thursday "provided a few clues about what the Kings and partners might eventually construct in the area," as commissioners gave the organization "preliminary approval for up to five bars or nightclubs on the site at the east end of Downtown Plaza, although no time frame was offered for building those venues." The Kings indicated that they "want to have some retail businesses up and running at the plaza site when the arena opens or soon after," expected in fall '16. Kings investor Mark Friedman said, "Our goal is to bring eight one-of-a-kind kind retailers to this market." He added that a hotel and housing "could come later, when feasible." However, the Kings "did not get everything they wanted." At the city staff’s request, commissioners "rejected one of seven proposed sites for digital billboards the Kings want to construct" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/11).

GOING GLOBAL: In Sacramento, Jason Jones wrote Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive "has made turning the Kings into a global brand one of his top goals." In addition to two preseason games in China next season, the Kings have broadcast 21 games on Chinese media outlets this season. In February, the Kings "started an official account" on Chinese microblogging site Weibo (SACBEE.com, 4/10).