NBA joins discussions for new Sacramento arena according to city manager

The NBA has joined the discussions to build a new entertainment and sports center in Downtown Sacramento according to city manager John Shirey.  The information came to light in this week’s Sacramento Kings’ update at yesterday evening’s city council meeting.

“I want to let everybody know that we believe the talks are progressing well with the investor team (of Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle),” Shirey told members of council.  “I wanted to also let you know that we are also now discussing issues with the NBA.  They are doing their own due diligence work, wanting to assure that our investor team and the city can deliver on a new arena downtown.  So our discussions have broadened somewhat in the last few days.”

The city is expected to vote on an arena term sheet on March 26th,  just eight days before the NBA’s financing and relocation committees convene in New York for a special meeting on April 3rd.  Shirey indicated that the outline of the proposal to build a new ESC at the Downtown Plaza could be ready for council and public review as early as next Thursday, March 21st.

“Everybody knows that we’re under a very tight timeframe to get all this work done,” Shirey said.  “But we’re not going to short-change the agreement.”

That agreement will be even more extensive than last year’s approved deal.  While it would be a completely new term sheet, Shirey noted that he and his team have learned a lot from last year’s go-around.  He believes the experience will help streamline the current negotiations.

There is still no word on whether the city will be asked to pay more or less than the estimated $255-million generated from monetizing its downtown parking assets.  With the site of the arena shifting to the shopping mall, a significant number of spaces would be eliminated to make room for the proposed building.  However in an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Shirey remained confident that the value of the parking wouldn’t drop much.

A community meeting has also been set for next Thursday to allow proponents and opponents voice their opinions on the subject.  The meeting will take place at City Hall from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.


James Ham

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