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One, Two, Three Sites Available for Downtown Arena

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Several people with knowledge of the city of Sacramento's efforts to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle say the favored spot to build a new home for the team is the Downtown Plaza.

If a new arena were to follow the plans laid out in 2004 by an arena task force, it would extend north and west from 7th and L Streets.

Architect Louis Kaufmann worked on the project in 2004.  He says the location provides an anchor for both K Street and West Sacramento, encourages light rail, foot traffic, retail and high-density housing, "All of those factors were driving the idea that if we could successfully put the arena there we'd really begin to drive forward what we thought was critical redevelopment of the area."

A number of factors including the city's relationship with Westfield -who owned the mall at the time- doomed the project.

Now, JMA Ventures owns the mall and has been cautiously discussing having an arena next door.  

The buzz surrounding the Downtown Plaza has shoved the idea of an arena site on public land at the Railyards into the background.  

The sites are different in several ways.  The Plaza has three light rail lines nearby and an entire city grid that could be used to access and leave the facility -including two multi-lane streets within a city block for people to access Interstate 5.  It's on private land and developers say that could be an advantage when it comes to permitting.

The site commonly referred to as the Railyards is a section of public land in the middle of a much larger private development north of I street.  The city-owned property has one light rail line feeding it and is hemmed in somewhat by the freeway and by railroad tracks.  It is a brownfield site that has been in the process of cleanup under the direction of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.  The site has already received approval by the NBA, arena operator Anschutz Entertainment Group and the Sacramento City Council.

But, there is another Railyards site on private land that has been floated by the site's developer.  Jared Ficker is with developer Inland American. He says the company has had "broad brush" discussions about its alternate site, but supports any arena site downtown, "We'd certainly like a chance to talk to whomever wants to look at that and see how it fits in the Railyards. Because we think in some ways, you're just dealing with blank ground and if infrastructure's being put in, you know obviously we would want to coordinate and see how all of that would work."

Ficker says the company is focused right now on supporting the city in whatever way it can to keep the Kings.  He says talk of arena sites should come after the Kings have been purchased by an ownership group intent on keeping the team in Sacramento. 
The Sacramento City Council has a resolution on its agenda for tonight supporting the City's efforts to keep the Kings and build an entertainment and sports complex.  The resolution also asks the NBA to support an ownership group that is intent on keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
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