SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – This is how we are used to seeing this side of the Downtown Plaza mall – quiet, the escalators have stopped. But now, signs of life are being pumped back into this once rundown portion of l and 5th Streets.
Bright neon construction cones and vests line the sidewalks and streets. The caution tape is up and the beginning of the demolition is now underway for the new Sacramento Kings arena.
Earlier this morning, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Kings President Chris Granger officially welcomed the first 100 construction workers on site with a bit of a pre-game pump-up speech.
“I couldn’t sleep, I was up all night, I was so excited,” Johnson said. “It felt like I was coming to a game. “Where’s my uniform?”
The first workers received Kings purple hard hats to commemorate the occasion.
Crews are starting off with a soft demolition – where they will be removing electrical wires and asbestos – and will begin setting up fencing and barriers. The big excavators and heavy duty equipment could be brought in within the next two to three weeks.
“This is partnership between us and the players and us and the people of Sacramento,” Granger said. And I think we’ve really hit the mark and are excited to show it off.”
Work crews say they’ll be able to recycle over 90% of the materials — and some of the materials are expected to be reused and re-purposed back into the new building.
The nearly $500 million project is expected to finish in October 2016.