Task Force Releases Plan For New Downtown Arena

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A task force established by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is recommending a three-tiered plan to raise nearly $400 million to build a downtown arena, a key step in the city’s efforts to keep the NBA’s Kings.

The plan, called the Nexus Report, announced Thursday by Think Big Sacramento at the Sacramento Press Club, calls on contributions from the private sector (Kings owners and developers), the public (city of Sacramento) and the fans who visit the arena.

The plan gives a menu of financing options to build an entertainment and sports complex at the abandoned railyard near downtown, with the NBA franchise as the primary tenant.

“They said they prefer to be a tenant, so once we heard they want to be a tenant, we have to build a financial model that takes that into consideration,” Johnson said of the Kings.

The group plan proposes combining user fees with public money and private investments to generate $387 million without broad tax increases. A 2006 ballot measure for a new arena relying on a sales tax increase failed miserably at the polls.

“We put taxpayers first,” Johnson said. “We heard what they said.”

Johnson also said the plan could generate more than 4,000 jobs.

The plan calls on funding from such things as ticket and concession surcharges, land and parking space sales by the city of Sacramento, naming rights and other sources.

Private costs for the arena were pegged at $91 to $156 million, the public contribution $94 to $123 million and arena use fees at $90 to $121 million.

The Kings would be expected to pay to lease the new arena, although how much specifically wasn’t clear.

No one from the Maloof ownership group attended the meeting but they posted a statement to the Kings’ website stating:

“The Kings organization views the Nexus Report as a very positive step toward the goal of a new entertainment and sports complex that will bring substantial economic benefits to the entire region and we hope will enable the team to continue playing in Sacramento. We were pleased with the report’s conclusion that funding for the project can be achieved using various revenue sources, none of which involve any broad-based tax.

“We look forward to continuing to work with all interested parties to bring the project to completion.”

The NBA declined to comment, referring to the Kings’ statement instead.

The NBA has given Sacramento until March to come up with an arena financing plan or it will consider allowing the Kings to relocate. The Maloof ownership group flirted with a move to Anaheim after last season, but the NBA owners never voted on the relocation after NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped in and said Sacramento should be given the chance to keep the team.

Johnson’s presentation at the NBA Board of Governors meeting was key to giving Sacramento more time to come up with an arena plan.

The plan will be presented to the City Council next week.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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