As expected, the Sacramento city council voted last night to approve the city’s term sheet with the Kings on plans for a new $391 million arena. The final vote was 7-2, after which there was much rejoicing.
Yet while an NBA.com blogger declared that the Kings arena plan had “cleared its final major hurdle,” there’s actually an even bigger hurdle than the city council on the horizon: money. The term sheet, as discussed last week, doesn’t actually specify how the city will come up with its $255 million share — it’s expected to be some combination of either the leasing of future parking rights or bonds floated on future parking revenues, plus sale of city land, but nobody is exactly sure how much that will amount to. The most recent report was that “city staffers are still wrestling with exactly how to make the parking plan pencil out,” which isn’t exactly promising.
What last night’s vote does do is provide the arena plan with momentum: Now, if parking revenue shortfalls emerge weeks or months down the road, it’s going to be far more likely that the conversation becomes “How do we fill that hole?” rather than “Maybe we can’t do this after all.” Not that that’s necessarily a good thing for Sacramento — just look how things worked out for Washington, D.C. — but it does make it more likely that an arena will eventually get built in Sacramento, by hook or by crook.