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Downtown Arena Developer ‘Encouraged’ By Project’s Progress

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento developer David Taylor, whose group earlier this week was approved by the City Council to build a new downtown arena, said Thursday that he’s upgraded the probability of the facility actually being built to “50-50.”

“I’m definitely more encouraged now than I was even a month or two ago,” Taylor told CBS13′s Koula Gianulias

Taylor, who will be working with Denver-based ICON Group to build the arena at the old railyards site, said he first gave the $387 million project a 15 to 20 percent chance of happening but said he’s encouraged by recent developments.

Taylor also said he doesn’t believe the current NBA lockout will kill the project, but did say it makes it more challenging for the NBA and the Maloofs, owners of the Sacramento Kings, to make decisions regarding the facility.

>> Raw: Interview With David Taylor

“My gut is it wouldn’t be the reason why the deal didn’t come together,” Taylor said of the lockout. “The reason would have more to do with private and public dollars.”

Taylor said public money will come from the city leasing parking spaces to a private operator for a large up-front fee.

“A big issue is to make sure whatever revenue flows to the city general fund now out of parking enterprises is replaced, so we don’t negatively impact the general fund,” Taylor said.

The private money would come primarily from Los Angeles-based AEG, which is interested in operating the arena. AEG, which runs the Staples Center in Los Angeles, would provide upfront financing in return for taking in arena-related revenue.

“They have both the money to invest, because they’re quite a large corporation, and they have the expertise they believe to generate enough revenue out of the arena to both share revenue with the Kings and have enough left over to have a good return on their investment,” Taylor said.

He said the Maloofs agreeing to be a tenant of the arena instead of the operator is another key to the deal going through.

As far as the arena itself, Taylor said it will feature lots of brickwork and will be an “iconic, gateway structure respectful of the railyards’ rich history.”

The NBA has given Sacramento a March 1 deadline to have a firm plan in place for building a new arena.

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