Cal Expo and NBA officials are expected to issue a report in the next 90 days about the viability of a new Sacramento arena. To say the project faces some huge hurdles is an understatement, and in this economy it may be impossible to garner the development resources and capital to create a project that yields a new $500-million arena.
Cal Expo and NBA officials are expected to issue a report in the next 90 days about the viability of a new Sacramento arena.
The first part of the report is acutally complete: Cal Expo officials have been preparing a site plan for the fairgrounds that creates an urban village with retail, entertainment, housing and office surrounding a new arena for the Sacramento Kings (NBA).
That’s the easy part, though. The hard part comes now, as NBA officials sit down and figure out how to pay for it. While the NBA has recently shown some talent in finding financing during hard times — like arranging money for 12 new arenas in China — the Sacremento project may be more challenging, and one that will not be directly controlled by the league. The game plan is to come up with a final plan that identifies potential revenue sources and then open up the process to bidding from developers.
The developers will be expected to haul the real baggage on the project: develop the 360-acre fairgrounds and pay for wish-list items like a new arena, a new horse-racing track and a modernized state fair. The minumum price for all this will be at least $650 million. The scale of the project will be daunting, to say the least.
The Sacramento arena project has been keenly watched by officials in other cities seeking an NBA franchise, as the Kings are the team most likely to move should a new arena not be forthcoming; we’re guessing officials in Seattle and Las Vegas will be very interested to see what happens.