As expected, the Sacramento city council approved the final Kings arena plan last night, by the same 7-2 vote that they always do. The city will now go ahead with selling $298.4 million in bonds for the $477 million project, with about $226 million of that ultimately coming out of the public’s pocket.
For arguments why this is a terrible idea, see Eye on Sacramento’s lengthy report on the final arena deal. Meanwhile, everyone else is too busy celebrating:
Mayor Kevin Johnson declared “Long live the Kings” after the final vote, and the chamber erupted in cheers along with team owners…
“This is certainly bigger than basketball,” [Kings president Chris] Granger said. “But it doesn’t just end there. At the very core, this project is about community.”…
“It’s not just about a venue for entertainment and sports; it’s about the type of life that people get to have when they choose to live in our region,” Councilwoman Angelique Ashby said.
And then there’s this report, also from KCRA:
Developers are getting ready to drop millions of dollars to change nearly everything immediately around the site of a new arena, the Downtown Plaza shopping center.
Across the street from the shopping center on its west side and its east side — Third and Seventh streets – developers are hoping to turn empty store fronts and empty buildings into stores, restaurants or apartments.
Normally I would say “don’t hold your breath,” but — actually, let’s go ahead and say it, because there’s no reason to build stores, restaurants, and apartments just because there’s an arena nearby that will have activity, say, 100 or so nights a year. But moving the Kings from the outskirts of town to downtown will shift some spending, so if there have been developers licking their lips and waiting for a reason to put up some new buildings downtown, a couple nights a week of NBA and concert fans traipsing through is not the worst excuse, maybe?
The bigger question, if this development does materialize, is whether a Kings arena was the best way to jump-start construction downtown, and whether the overall benefits to the city end up being worth $226 million. Again, I wouldn’t go holding my breath, but we’re going to find out one way or another, because the Jiffy Pop Arena is now set to become reality.