SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A new downtown Sacramento arena is back on the city’s agenda, with the city manager seeking council approval to resume negotiations with investors on the project.
The public resolutions supporting an arena were one thing, but now the City Council will be asked on Tuesday to formally put up money so that city staff can begin to lay the groundwork for a new sports and entertainment complex downtown.
“We received word from the mayor’s office that the parties he’s working with are proceeding very well and the city should be prepared to begin negotiations,” Assistant City Manager John Dangberg told CBS13 on Saturday.
That means if the council approves the move, negotiations with the financial whales, reportedly billionaire grocer Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, could begin as early as Wednesday.
Sacramento is moving fast as Mayor Kevin Johnson has set a March 1 deadline to submit an arena plan as well as a competitive bid to buy the Kings to prevent the team from moving to Seattle. The Maloofs have a sales agreement with Chris Hansen’s Seattle group that values the franchise at $525 million.
In a statement on the latest developments, the mayor’s spokesman said, “(The mayor) is working closely with the council and the city manager to ensure the city is fully prepared to work with a new ownership group to develop a public-private partnership that will protect taxpayers.”
The City Council will be asked to move $150,000 from the general fund to help pay for legal and consultant costs.
In the end the city could be putting up as much as $255 million through the lease of public parking spaces to a private firm.
The city had a handshake agreement with the Maloofs last year to build a new $391 million arena in the downtown railyards before the Maloofs walked away from the deal. It’s now believed that the Downtown Plaza is the preferred site for a new arena.