The site of Sleep Train Arena, the former home of the Sacramento Kings, is being considered as a potential new home for the Sacramento Zoo.
First opening in 1988 as Arco Arena, Sleep Train Arena was home to the Kings through the 2015-2016 season. The Kings departed the venue for downtown Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center in time for the 2016-17 campaign, and their former home has sat largely idle in the years since. The land could be redeveloped down the road, however, as the Sacramento Zoo is reportedly eyeing the Sleep Train Arena site as a potential new location. If that plan were to move forward, Sleep Train Arena would be demolished to clear the way for the Sacramento Zoo.
While it is possible that the concept gains some traction, it appears to be very preliminary at this stage. The property remains under the ownership of the Kings, and an official stated that the zoo had not been in contact with the organization about the land. More from the Sacramento Bee:
The zoo has not contacted the Kings, who own the property in Natomas, nor determined what it would cost to demolish the arena and build a new zoo with a plethora of new structures and animals, said [Sacramento Zoo director Jason] Jacobs.
“There is no agreement. We haven’t met with the owners of the land. We have looked at the site, but it doesn’t mean we’re moving there,” he said.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg said on Monday he likes the concept of creating an “iconic” wildlife park in the city, and said the Natomas site is worth exploring.
“While there’s a lot of work ahead to develop a solid finance plan, the idea deserves a full exploration,” Steinberg said. “The Kings themselves may have their own ideas. I look forward to considering those fully as well. The main thing is: Let’s get started on creating something great for Natomas, the city and the region.”
Currently the Sacramento Zoo is located in the city’s William Land Regional Park. Discussion of a potential move to the Sleep Train Arena site come as the zoo explores moving to a larger location.