SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A court ruling has cleared the way for construction on a new Sacramento Kings arena, as the team and city have final approval from a judge to start building.
Demolition of the current Downtown Plaza has been on hold until the judgment, but that is likely to begin next week. The team’s plan called for the process to begin by the end of this month, and a spokesman said they will give 24-48 hours notice before it starts.
“We remain focused on demolition preparations, which is expected to start shortly, and the grand opening fall of 2016,” said Kings President Chris Granger.
The lawsuit claimed the arena was a threat to imminent safety, and that it would bring traffic, displace the homeless, and riots are possible if the team wins a championship.
“It will cause noise, pile driving, lights, and constructio all the things that we logically assume that will have the impact,” said attorney Kelly Smith.
After court, lead plaintiff Adriana Saltonstall says she wants more scrutiny of the project and the city’s $255 million contribution toward the project to be used elsewhere.
“I have nothing against sports arenas per se, but my personal interest happens to be classical music,” she said. “I’d like to see $255 million going to support the philharmonic and maybe the Sacramento Choral Society.”
The opponents vow they will fight on, but Friday’s decision means the demolition can begin. Phase 1 includes closing off some underground parking spaces, restriping L Street and adding barricades to what are now the main entrances to the mall.
“There is going to be traffic regardless if you tear it down, build it or leave it,” said arena supporter Ashley Flood. “My thing is if it’s going to be a positive thing, why not?”
Both sides will be back in court in October.
The city cannot issue the arena bonds until the California Environmental Quality Act requirements are completed. The team will pay upfront costs while the city will contribute next year after legal challenges are resolved.