John Shirey sits attentively during Mar. 7, 2012 arena vote. (Photo: Steven Chea)

The city of Sacramento is speeding up its timeline in its effort to resuscitate last year’s deal to build a new downtown arena.  City Manager John Shirey told councilmembers at last night’s council meeting that he hopes to have a term sheet brought before them on Mar. 26th.

Shirey originally intended to have a term sheet outlining the details of the arena plan in their hands by Apr. 2nd.

“Obviously, we’ll just have to gauge as we go along here as to when we can get this done,” the city manager said at Sacramento’s weekly council meeting.  ”But we think Apr. 2nd might be cutting it a little close for meetings with the NBA, so we’re gonna try to have it here on March the 26th.  That’s just a little bit of variance from what I told you last week.”

The city also expects to begin formal negotiations with Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov next week.  The two are the major equity investors in mayor Kevin Johnson‘s plan to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

“Obviously, the most important element from our side is having good information about our parking assets,” Shirey said.  ”That information has been delivered by our parking consultant and will now be evaluated and valued by our investment bankers.”

Following the structure of last year’s arena deal, the city of Sacramento plans to lease its downtown parking assets to fund a major portion of the project.  Last year, the spaces were valued at approximately $255 million.

However, that figure could drop considering the proposed site of a new entertainment and sports complex has changed to the Downtown Plaza.  Some of the city-owned parking garages located in the dilapidated shopping mall would likely be lost to make room for the arena.

Burkle is leading the charge on the project and is partnering with JMA Ventures, the owners of the Downtown Plaza.  The San Francisco-based real estate investment and development firm purchased the mall for $22 million last August.  There is an expectation that the Kings majority investors would bridge any shortfall in the project.

“I think they’re really looking at making a substantial investment in our downtown core,” said Councilman Allen Warren, chair of the ad hoc committee addressing the Kings/arena issue. “And the city has over the course of a number of years has made substantial investments to the downtown area.  I think this would be one of the investments that we would hope that would really send our downtown area into really a new beginning.  And so I am very excited about the opportunity.”