Sacramento votes in favor to budget $6.5-million investment on arena project

Conceptual drawing of the Downtown Plaza arena lower bowl (AECOM)

With the team firmly in place under new owners, the city of Sacramento took its next step in the effort to build a new downtown arena.  Last night,, Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 in favor of budgeting a $6.5-million investment towards the entertainment and sports complex project.

As spelled out in the non-binding term sheet the city council approved in March, the $6.5 million are anticipated to be part of the public’s $258 million contribution toward designing and developing the new arena. Along with any cost overruns, the Kings ownership group led by Vivek Ranadivé will pay the remaining $189 million of the $447-million project.

“They’re spending a substantial amount on due diligence and actual predevelopment work and we just need to be prepared to move along with them,” Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said as he wrapped up his report to city council last evening.

The investment approved yesterday evening will come from two different sources of funding.  Approximately $5 million will be obtained from the MOPA fund – finances generated from the 2008 sale of the Downtown Sheraton Grand to developer David Taylor.  An additional $1.5 million comes from parking funds in the city’s capital improvement program.

Also with last night’s vote, approximately $1.8 million has been cleared for spending to hire various consultant services.  Those expenses break down into the following:

  • ESC Facility and Finance Advisor: $200,000
  • Sports Facility Design/Construction Advisor: $250,000
  • Parking Consultant: $425,000
  • ESC Revenue Analysis: $80,000
  • Transaction Attorneys and Legal Counsel: $550,000
  • Real Estate Services: $200,000
  • Communications/Outreach Assistance: $ 50,000

The city plans to either hire or renegotiate  new contracts with consultants they’ve worked with in the past including Barrett Sports Group, John Hilkene of Weston Sports and Entertainment and Walker Parking.

Meanwhile, the new ownership group is taking steps of their own before the arena’s construction.  During his presentation last night, assistant city manager Dangberg notified council members that the Kings owners are hiring ICON Venue Group to lead the design and development of the arena.  The Colorado-based stadium contractor provided the feasibility analysis for last year’s failed project at the rail yards.

About two dozen supporters in favor of the arena attended last night’s meeting.  Three spoke during public comment.

Like many previous arena motions, council members Allen Warren, Bonnie Pannell, Angelique Ashby, Jay Schenirer, Steve Hansen, Steve Cohn and mayor Kevin Johnson voted in favor.  Councilmen Darrell Fong and Kevin McCarty once again were no votes.

“It’s not often that I’m very happy to spend millions of dollars,” said councilman Warren during yesterday’s meeting.  “But in this case, those millions that we invest I think will come back to us in the form of a tremendous resource for our community, wonderful opportunity for our city.”

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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.