In his weekly news conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson talked yesterday about the Kings’ opening night win and the progress in the arena project. Speaking of the latter, KJ says he “feels good about the progress we’re making on the new entertainment and sports complex and the financing.”

He was also asked about the city parking plan, which may cover the bulk of funding for a new downtown arena.  Various reports say the city’s spaces and structures might be valued somewhere in the range of $165 to 200-million upfront if leased to a private parking operator.  Does Johnson believe they’re worth more?

“I do think,” the mayor began. “And this is just a gut (feeling), so this isn’t just something that is deeply rooted in science or empirical data where I’ve talked to a lot of people.  I actually do think it’s going to come in higher than we think.  And that’s just my gut.”

Johnson also emphasized that the city is at a “critical juncture” in the project, especially with confidence from the NBA and the Kings co-owners at an all-time high.

“I tell you what, the Maloofs are very, very optimistic,” said Johnson.  ”They feel that we have a chance to get it done.  As I shared a week or so ago, Commissioner (David) Stern believes we’re serious about making this happen in Sacramento.  I don’t think he was quite as optimistic over the last few attempts in Sacramento.  So yeah, there’s a lot of work to be done on it but nonetheless, I think we’re having good discussions and we’d like to be in a good position to beat the March deadline.”

H/T: Rob McAllister