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Sacramento's Plan B: Smaller Arena, Renovation, or Something Else?



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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says a Railyards arena project may yet be salvaged.  But, he says without the Kings, the arena could be smaller or built in stages.   

JOHNSON: "It's about us controlling our own destiny.  And I still think we have an opportunity to do that. There are some financial, some legal, some economic issues that we've gotta look at."   

Some of those issues come from a clause in the current lease agreement. It allows the owners of the Sacramento Kings to pay off their lease early if the city builds a facility that competes with Power Balance Pavilion. 

Building an arena now -with the assumption the Kings are going to leave - could put the city in a better position to attract a professional basketball or hockey team once the Kings are gone. 

If the Kings stay, the Maloofs could still pay off the loan early, and become tenants at the new facility.

But, if the City follows the recently deceased arena plan, it would need to find $74 million.

The Mayor says the parking operators, arena operator and developers have all told him they are still committed to Sacramento.   

As the City looks at what kind of new arena might be built downtown, there is this vision for the home of the Sacramento Kings…something more closely resembling a castle:

"People would access their seats in the upper level by virtue of escalators and elevators that would be in entry towers exterior to the existing structure, but added on to it.  It would just be an entirely different look."   

That's Greg Van Deusen. He says there is no reason why Power Balance Pavilion couldn't be renovated.

He works with the architect of the King's original home, and has been in contact with the owners of the Kings over the last several weeks. 

On Capital Public Radio's Insight Program, Van Deusen said they could expand the perimeter of the building, make the concourses wider and redo all of the surfaces within the building for under $150 million.

Mayor Johnson has said the City won't help finance a renovation.  He says he hopes to have a better idea of what might still be possible for a new arena by the middle of next month, after he meets with "trusted partners."

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