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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A local engineer and a former Sacramento Kings executive say it’s possible to give Power Balance Pavilion a major facelift and make it one of the best arenas in America.
For a quarter of the price of a new downtown arena, former Kings executive Greg Van Dusen says his group can do what many think is impossible – refurbish the existing arena in Natomas for about $100 million.
“I think that we’ll come to a great agreement on this when people see what is possible and what is possible will be absolutely spectacular,” he said.
Despite the optimism, there are obstacles. Many feel the arena is too small and not structurally sound enough for a major remodel, that it would have to be completely knocked down and rebuilt.
“I’m shocked anybody would suggest that without asking me about it,” Gerardo Calvillo said.
Perhaps nobody knows more about the building then Calvillo, the original and current structural engineer of Power Balance Pavilion. He rolled out a blueprint of how he could add club seats and luxury suites for a relatively low price.
“You have countless ways you can address all the needs,” he said. “You have to do planning and decide what you want to do with it.”
But there’s another major hurdle – the federal government. The FEMA building moratorium in Natomas blocks any of this happening. Van Dusen wouldn’t explain to CBS13 his way around that.
“If it’s not lifted, we have an engineering solution,” he said.
Finally, who would pay for it?
Mayor Kevin Johnson says the city won’t spend a dime. And the Maloof family’s finances remain in question. But a like-new arena at a fraction of the cost could be the best deal the brothers have seen in years.
“Once some of the emotions have died down, we’ll take a deep breath and start figuring out what can we afford and what it is that’s going to solve the problem,” Van Dusen said.
According the Van Dusen, his plan would take about a year to a year and a half to complete, during which the Kings would still be able to play all of their home games at the arena.
Meanwhile, Johnson says he is continuing work on his Plan B for a downtown arena, which would be a new building without an anchor tenant.
The mayor says the budget will be his focus this month, so his Plan B may not be released until June. The mayor plans to travel to Los Angeles this week to meet with AEG discuss the company’s potential involvement. The arena operator had previously pledged $58 million toward the downtown project, but that was with the Kings as tenants.