Today at the Sacramento City Hall, members of the Taylor/ICON group took the podium, one after another, to lay out the foundation for a new sports and entertainment complex in the Downtown Rail Yards. Led by ICON’s Tim Romani, the group used a power point presentation to paint a vivid picture of what might be in Sacramento. The plan, which we have detailed here, is still without a completed financing mechanism to the pay the estimated $387 million price tag, but that will come next as the Mayor and his team of civic leaders go behind closed doors to comb through the plethora of new and exciting information.
Following the presentation by the Taylor/Icon group this afternoon, Mayor Kevin Johnson held a press conference to bask in the glow of a great day for his home town. While questions kept coming at him about the lack of a financing plan, KJ stayed on point, celebrating a monumental day in Sacramento that saw an emphatic YES! to whether or not a new sports and entertainment complex is even a possibility.
Commissioner David Stern followed Mayor Johnson’s press conference with a press release regarding the Taylor/ICON presentation in Sacramento:
We are encouraged by the process and the overwhelming support of the Mayor, the business community and the citizens of the region. Like the Maloofs, we want to make this new entertainment and sports complex happen. The focus now is moving forward in developing a public-private partnership financing model that will bring a new arena to fruition. That is priority number one in Sacramento for all of us.
-NBA Commissioner David Stern
Although the financing is not yet in place, David Taylor did address this issue with members of the media following the Mayors press conference. According to Taylor, “We did do a lot of hard work in the financing arena, you just didn’t see it all today. You will see it more as we get a chance to fully brief the Kings and then engage them in that conversation and the regional players.” Clearly, the group is further along with the financial package than what was presented today. How far along is for another day.
Perhaps the biggest surprise to come out of the presentation today came from Tim Romani who stated that the SEC could actually be built in time for the 2014 season, instead of March of 2015. In order for this to happen, a “bridge loan” could be needed to push the early development phase of the plan forward.
I was able to ask David Taylor about the feasibility of this type of loan during a post press conference conversation. Although Taylor was positive about many things, he was slightly apprehensive about the 2014 deadline:
It’s feasible, but it’s tough because right now, we don’t know who’s going to own the thing. What the actual ownership entity will be- how many counties, how many cities. So right now there is a risk period for spending money for pre-val expenses to pay for EIR processing, and architects to help the EIR process and contractors to do all this hard additional work on infrastructure and inter-model stuff. That’s a difficult risk picture and getting the pre-development money to that effort, is something that has to be done right away and it will end up determining whether we can hit a schedule for the 14′ season or if we need to go to the 15′ season.
Overall, the Taylor/ICON group put on a show. One industry expert after another took the podium to paint a perfect picture of every aspect of the SEC…except for that financing thing. While the Sacramento City Council had been briefed a day earlier, they each made brief statements, mainly to express their gratitude to the men and women who had created the feasibility study.
Next up, a 100 day window to create the final piece of the puzzle which includes pulling a region together for a multi-county financing effort.