The City of Sacramento has given the go ahead to plans to build and finance a new US$477m (€348m) Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC) for NBA basketball franchise, Sacramento Kings.
The Sacramento City Council approved the plans at a meeting on Tuesday by a 7-2 margin. The ESC will be constructed at the Downtown Plaza Mall in Sacramento and the agreement will tie the Kings to Sacramento as tenants of the ESC for 35 years.
According to the team, the 17,500-seat arena will be slightly larger than the Kings’ current aging facility and will feature a see-through entrance and a silver exterior with diamond-shaped windows.
The City’s cash contribution to the ESC will be US$233m, with the majority of this financed through a parking revenue bond. In addition, the City will pay US$21.9m per annum in debt service, which will be paid through lease payments from the franchise. The City is also transferring US$32m-worth of land and allowing the team to operate six digital billboards. In return, the Kings will contribute US$254m to construct the arena and develop surrounding land with a hotel, office tower, and retail.
Kings President, Chris Granger, opened Tuesday’s meeting by calling it a ‘historic day for the team and Sacramento region’, saying the arena would serve as a hub for economic development, with the project to bring 11,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs. He added:
This is certainly bigger than basketball. But it doesn’t just end there. At the very core, this project is about community.
Demolition on the existing site at the Downtown Plaza Mall is due to begin this summer with groundbreaking expected to start in the autumn. The new ESC is scheduled to open in time for the 2016-17 season.
Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, speaking after Tuesday’s vote said:
Tonight’s vote is a historic moment for Sacramento and the culmination of years of hard work from so many in our city and our region. Sacramento has had a vision for its future and I am so proud of our community for their fight and resolve to ensure that vision became a reality.
The Kings first moved to Sacramento in 1985 from Kansas City and have played at the Sleep Train Arena for the past 26 seasons. They finished fourth in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the 2013-14 NBA season.