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Downtown Plaza Versus Railyards: Where To Put A New Arena?

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The big money investors who want to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento could soon be revealed.

Billionaire Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov have been reportedly interested in the team. The next question, where to put an arena, on K Street or at the downtown railyards?

JMA Ventures bought the Downtown Plaza last August, and since then, the developer has made minor changes to the K Street site, but there is no doubt the company has bigger plans.

Shortly after the purchase, JMA did a study on how an arena may fit on the grid. According to city figures, sales have gone from $166 million in 2005 to around $112 million just six years later. But financial experts say a major project would likely send profits on a fast break.

“In general, there will be a lot more economic activity. There will be a lot more people likely to visit, a lot more people to buy things and spend money on retail, on hospitality, and entertainment, and add up to many more dollars,” said Sacramento State’s Dean of Business Dr. Sanjay Varshney.

But with an arena instead of shops, hundreds of people who work at the mall would be put out of a job.

“There will be some short term displacement, but the hope would be that the long term advantages would more than off set the short term displacement,” said Varshney.

Over at the railyards, building an arena would breathe new life into a city eyesore, where moving train tracks has been the only construction in years.

Still, that location is not a slam dunk. Toxins in the dirt could halt the project or bring it to a stop all together if the environmental cleanup does not go as planned.

Varshney says it’s not about the where but when.

“I think it’s a win-win, regardless of where it goes,” he said.

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