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Details on new Sacramento arena: smaller, funkier

Sacramento KingsA dramatic outdoor plaza seating area and prime SRO areas will offset a smaller seating bowl, as new information about a new Sacramento arena for the Sacramento Kings (NBA) was released.

The new design for the $448-million arena, as detailed by Kings President Chris Granger in a community informational meeting, calls for an arena with about the same seating capacity as Sleep Train Arena. The original plan called for a capacity of 18,500, but Granger said the current design will accommodate only 17,500 — about the same as the 17,317 capacity at Sleep Train Arena. Smaller arenas are definitely the trend in the NBA, so this may not be a big deal.

Especially when the smaller capacity is offset by unique design features, such as an outdoor plaza seating area. From the Sacramento Bee:

Granger said the team and its architecture firm, AECOM, believe limited seating would create intimacy and allow designers to add elements no other arena has. That doesn’t mean there would be fewer fans, he said. The Kings are talking about offering a number of standing-room-only tickets for fans to watch the game in open areas behind the arena’s lower seating bowl or on what officials say would be a dramatic “bridgeway” over one end of the arena, offering bar seating, couches, and a railing overlooking the event floor.

Overall, the new arena is expected to be 50 percent larger in square footage than Sleep Train, allowing event-goers more leg room, wider seats, and wider concourses….

At one end of the arena, the Kings say they envision a glass wall that slides open onto a plaza at Sixth and K streets, making the arena an indoor-outdoor facility. Ticket buyers for some events, such as concerts, would be able to sit in the plaza with a view of the stage through the open glass wall, as well as via video screens in the plaza. The outdoor area could boost arena capacity by thousands for some events, Kings officials said.

To stress the point that a new Sacramento arena is far from a done deal, a group opposing the current arena plan will be gathering signatures in an effort to change the funding plan. One group, Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, has already launched a petition drive to derail the project; the new group is merely looking to change the terms of the deal. From the Bee:

The group, calling itself Voters for a Fair Arena Deal, is getting support from nonunion contractors angry because they’ve been effectively locked out of bidding on the new arena. The nonunion contractors expect to contribute $15,000 to $25,000 initially to the effort, said Eric Christen, a member of the new committee and leader of nonunion builders pushing for a piece of the construction project.

Community activist Craig Powell, president of the watchdog group Eye on Sacramento, said Voters for a Fair Arena Deal will gather signatures for the petition drive launched earlier this year by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or STOP. But Powell said his group will operate separately and isn’t opposed to a public subsidy for an arena.

“What we are in favor of is an arena subsidy we can afford,” Powell said. Powell contends that the city, under the current plan, would be putting up more than the advertised $258 million investment to help build the arena.

A new arena is expected to open in three years.

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