Kings eminent domain suit cleared, final arena approval possible in April

The Sacramento Kings eminent domain case is over, and it didn’t even take an out-of-court settlement to get resolved: A Sacramento Superior Court judge just up and ruled that the city can seize the former Macy’s building to use for the site of a new Kings arena, and that’s that.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone: Ever since the Kelo case, the courts have established that pretty much anything can count as a “public purpose” for which eminent domain can be used. (Maybe not organ smuggling. Maybe.) The courts will now figure out a fair purchase price for the property, but in the meantime arena preparations can proceed apace.

Next up: public hearings in April on the city’s environmental report and bond offering, with arena bonds to be sold shortly thereafter. According to the Sacramento Bee, the final agreement between the city and the Kings “will be released to the public 10 days before the City Council takes its final decision,” which is totally plenty of time to decide if it all makes sense. Or plenty of time to hold a couple of hearings and then rubber-stamp it, anyway. Definitely one of those.

12 comments on “Kings eminent domain suit cleared, final arena approval possible in April

  1. Our city mothers and fathers can add and subtract. They know how bad the deal is for the citizenry, but it’s good for the people some of them will work for in the future. And they tried to cut the time from 10 days to 2, but got caught.

  2. It’s amazing that the desperate attempt to keep a very bad team in Sacramento may very well bankrupt the city. What possible return on the dollar can the city expect? None, apparently. The NBA is so horribly broken that it’s only hope is to blackmail cities into emptying the city bank accounts or they’ll leave.

  3. Here’s a story on the lawsuit finding (although your summary works fine Neil).

  4. They’ve got this so well planned out that they’re worrying about adding cell phone charging to arena seats. :-)

    He said the Kings are plowing through design elements large and small. On Wednesday, the team witnessed a demonstration of technology that would allow fans to re-charge their cell phones from their seats inside the new arena. The technology has been developed by telecom giant Qualcomm Inc., whose chairman Paul Jacobs is the Kings’ vice chairman.

  5. Look Sacramento did their part from the Kings moving to Seattle which their own taxpayers were willing to help build a new arena…so either way tax money would have been used in both situations…plz neil will u stop with thisanti bbusiness

  6. Aldon,

    Much of the support of the kings comes from cities such as Roseville, Rocklin, El Dorado Hills, Carmichael, Folsom, Ranch Cordova, Woodland, Davis, Placerville, West Sacramento, and unicorporated areas of Sacramento County.

    Only ONE city will be paying for this boondoggle and it is not in the list above.

    Remember, Seattle VOTED to fund an arena, Sacramento did not. In fact, Sacramento has said “No” multiple times and it is still be shoved down our throats. The City Council went against its own policies and worked hard to craft a scheme that would bypass legal requirements to put the measure before the voters.

    At this point, it looks like we are stuck with it. I can only hope that when new taxes are put on the ballot, the voters scream “NO” in the loudest possible way. The city has already placed one such tax on the ballot for November. We are told that there is not enough money in the general fund to pay for libraries so we have to add an assessment to property taxes to keep them open. But earlier in the same meeting, they said that there is $9 million in the general fund that they can divert to the arena.

  7. @RA,
    living in Seattle, I can tell you the closest thing that the public has had to a vote on an arena was I-91. The result of that vote was 70some% of the voters favored caps on the types of “handouts” we’d give to pro sports. There has been no public vote on an NHL/NBA arena since.

  8. Yup, it’s true, the math doesn’t add up. Right now, the parking provides a $9M “surplus” for the budget. Now we’re expecting that $9M to still be there, plus we’re going to serve $20M-$25M in annual debt payments.

    With a capacity of 18,000, even with 200 events/year, that’s 3.6M users/year, so roughly speaking, they’re hoping to produce about $7 in City revenue per person… If they’re okay with completely losing the $9M revenue stream. If they’re not, it’s closer to $10/person in revenue to the City to cover the $9M and repay the bonds.

    It’s not going to happen.

    And when it fails to happen and we’re presented with a “Look, everyone makes mistakes! We must raise taxes!”, I’m going to vote no. I suspect that will fail by a huge margin.

    (And I’m even okay with the library tax.)

  9. A small (but possibly important) note about the Warriors Pier 30-32 San Francisco Arena project is buried in this article:

  10. I don’t think this story is being reported correctly (by the big media outlets, not Neil), the city was never going to be prevented from taking Macy’s, in situations like these, the government is always allowed to take the property the only fight is over fair market value, and they are still fighting over that. This is really a non-story.

    Here’s a question for you, what happens to the vacant Macys building if an arena never materializes?

  11. If the arena isn’t built, the Kings organization owns the property, since the price will be determined by a jury, but the Kings, rather than the City, will pay for the building.

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