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Mayor Calls Arena Meeting Productive; Sides To Talk Again

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson emerged from a meeting with the Kings’ owners at City Hall on Thursday and said the downtown arena talks were “productive” and the sides agreed to pick up talks “bright and early” again on Friday.

The meeting began at 10 a.m. and the mayor briefly addressed reporters shortly after 1 p.m. He said the sides agreed not to negotiate in the media and declined to get into specifics about what was discussed on Thursday.

“Tomorrow you could have a deal, you could have the makings of a deal, or you could have no deal like we had in New York,” he said.

The handshake agreement made in Orlando during NBA All-Star weekend at the end of February publicly imploded during the NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York City earlier this month.

The Maloofs hired an economist who said in the Kings’ presentation to other owners in the New York that the city’s revenue projections are off. The mayor has said repeatedly the city will not renegotiate any terms of the $391 million deal that called for the Maloofs to contribute $73 million. The city ($255 million) and proposed arena operator AEG ($58 million) would have funded the rest of the project.

George Maloof surprisingly brought up the idea in New York of renovating the aging Power Balance Pavilion but Johnson said Thursday they want a new arena downtown.

City officials have said the arena project is critical to development of the railyards and are exploring other ways to proceed without the Kings as the anchor tenant. Johnson said the city has one or two weeks to move forward on the project in order to still have a new facility built by the original fall 2015 target date.

Earlier in the week when discussing the meeting, Johnson said he was “hopeful” but not confident the deal could be revived.

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