List of million-dollar pledges grows as city council updates efforts to save Sacramento Kings

Mayor Kevin Johnson and city manager John Shirey at the Mar. 6, 2012 arena vote. (Photo: Steven Chea)

As the NBA’s relocation deadline quickly approaches, the city is keeping the public in the loop in its efforts to keep the Kings in Sacramento.  For the next four weeks, any discussions on a possible new arena and the Kings’ future will remain as standing items in city council meetings leading up to the March 1st deadline.

Councilman Allen Warren is running point on an ad hoc committee addressing the Kings/arena issue.  Warren’s comments at last night’s meeting included an update on the list of local investors who’ve pledged money in the city’s bid to keep the Kings.

“I know when the mayor initially started this push that we asked for 10 Sacramentans to step forward to pledge a million dollar investment a piece,” Warren said.  “And so just for the record to date…I believe the number has gone up to 25 people now (who) have stepped up to pledge a million dollars to invest to help keep our team here in Sacramento…”

Two weeks ago, the mayor’s office  announced a list of 20 businesspeople with Sacramento ties that have joined him on the frontlines in the capital city’s fight to keep the Kings.  Last week, some of those local financiers met with prospective whale investor Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness.

As mayor Johnson stated in his comments to the press yesterday morning, the city is currently exploring two options as possible locations for a new entertainment and sports complex.  The railyards remain viable considering the site was evaluated and cleared leading up to last year’s arena deal.

“As everybody knows, we spent much time doing various studies and feasibility analysis of a site in the railyards for an arena” City Manager John Shirey said in his comments at council last night.  “And we believe that we have a feasible site for that project there.”

The alternative option is the downtown shopping plaza.  Located just blocks away from the K Street Mall, it has been mentioned in recent weeks as a site of interest because of Ron Burkle’s reported involvement with JMA Ventures, the owners of the dilapidated mall.  The real estate development firm confirmed a few weeks ago that it conducted its own feasibility analysis of the site with AECOM, which designed the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

“It was also said that we’re doing a feasibility of that site – that is the city staff,” said Shirey.  “That is not correct.  The feasibility or work on feasibility has been done by JMA.  We have simply provided information on utilities and infrastructure and things like that to assist them in their work.”

This isn’t the first time the city has explored the downtown plaza as a possible location for a new ESC.  Shirey said that the city has an existing database of information on the shopping center’s viability as the site of a new arena.

“I think we’re in a fortunate position to really have two sites that we believe will work for (building) of an arena,” said Shirey.  “And we’re prepared in the event that an ownership comes forward to work with them on either locations or some variation thereon.”

The city manager also noted that they’ve made the following moves in anticipation of their ownership/arena proposal to the NBA.

  • Sports business consultant Dan Barrett is back on board.  He was originally hired by the city following the Anaheim ordeal to assist in the planning of a new ESC.  Since the end of the last chapter in the Kings’ saga, Barrett has kept himself busy.  Among his latest endeavors include work on San Francisco’s efforts to build a new arena for the Golden State Warriors according to Barrett Sports LLC’s website.
  • City Attorney James Sanchez is exploring options for legal counsel that will provide additional expertise and assistance to the project.
  • City Treasurer Russ Feher has been in talks with various investment bankers to keep Sacramento prepared to deal with any financial packages.

WATCH: Sacramento City Council address Kings/arena issue at last night’s meeting.

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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.