City of Sacramento deliberates on Kings arena and community’s future

Sacramento City Council Meeting on May 20, 2014 (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

At this very moment, the future of California’s state capital is being decided.  On the table of tonight’s Sacramento City Council meeting is the plan to build a new entertainment and sports complex.

If approved, the Sacramento Kings would have a new home by 2016 and the city would have a major project on its hands that could be a catalyst for the community’s rejuvenation.

“It’s a big day obviously for the Kings and certainly Sacramento as well,” Kings president Chris Granger told media before the meeting began.  “I think more than anything, I’m really excited for all the people who have contributed to this process, this journey along the last few years. There’s so many people on the front lines, so many people behind the scenes and have made a difference in us getting here. And this day is for them. I’m just so happy for so many people right now.”

When it’s come to the franchise’s stability in Sacramento, Kings fans have been through the wringer.  Numerous deals for a new arena have failed throughout the years and the community has averted relocation of the franchise on multiple occasions.  A motion to pass the arena deal would mark a turnaround in a saga that has been a long time coming.

“I can’t even pretend to understand the depths of what everyone who has been here understands and what they’ve went through,” Granger said of the region’s lengthy fight to keep the Kings in town. “I have a sense of it because I was around the process on the outside. But I know that this is a big deal, which is why we’re so excited to have this little rally here today, why we’re excited to do things down on K Street. We want as many people as possible to be able to participate in what I think is a historic moment for Sacramento.”

The plan calls for the construction of a $477-million arena located at the site of the Downtown Plaza.  The Kings would pay $222 million of the project while city would kick in $255 million, mostly by leveraging future parking revenues.  The Kings plan on contributing annual lease fee payments that will range from $6.5 million starting in year one to a minimum of approximately $18 million in the final year of the lease.

Granger says that the Kings have no problem throwing dollars at Sacramento and its community.  He says that the organization is confident that the arena project will pan out financially for not only the region, but for the Kings as well.

“We feel good about the deal,” Granger said when asked about the viability . “Obviously, we’re committing to Sacramento for the next 35 years. We believe in this community. We believe in the the fans here and their ability to support this team, so we couldn’t be happier with where we sit today.”

Tonight’s vote was delayed by a week, but the broad timeline for the arena’s construction and opening has not changed.  Major demolition is scheduled for late July, construction should begin early in the fall and the building’s opening is still targeted for October 2016.

James Ham contributed to this story.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.