When the NBA chose to keep the Kings in Sacramento, its decision came down to whether or not the city had done everything asked of it to keep the team. Sacramento not only came forward with a strong ownership group, but also a viable arena plan. In the days since the league's verdict has been finalized, even more work has been done to secure the arena.
The proposed site for the arena is the Downtown Plaza. The site is currently owned by JMA Ventures, but the Ranadive group, who recently bought the Kings, is closing in on purchasing it, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Local developer Mark Friedman, a member of the group buying the Kings, said the consortium headed by Silicon Valley tech executive Vivek Ranadive is now under contract to buy the mall site from JMA Ventures.
Friedman declined to disclose the purchase price.
The sale involves much of the land between Fourth, Seventh, J and L streets. It doesn't include the independently owned Macy's store at the west end of the plaza, or a few other adjacent buildings that are not part of the arena project site, such as the Marshall Hotel at Seventh and L streets.
In an emailed statement Tuesday, JMA Ventures President Todd Chapman confirmed the pending sale to Ranadive. He also declined to reveal the price.
JMA Ventures, who purchased the Downtown Plaza last fall for $21.7 million, is expected to continue managing the site and also to "be master developer for the broader, non-arena development on the six-block site, and will have an ownership stake in that development."
Having the site in possession of the team's owners is expected to hasten the development of the arena. Already, environmental reviews are being conducted.
The complex, which is slated to be finished in time for the start of the 2016 season, is expected to revitalize downtown Sacramento. It's an expectation that is being supported by the University of the Pacific's business forecaster Jeff Michael.
Michael wrote, according to The Sacramento Bee, that the placement of the arena should be more helpful than of the other recently proposed sites.
"The project has the potential to accomplish broader city goals and help other city assets like the Convention Center in a way that other proposed locations such as the railyards or Cal Expo would not," Michael wrote.
Rendered Pictures Of Sacramento Kings Potential New Arena tinyurl.com/cgng2gz— A Royal Pain (@ARoyalPain) March 21, 2013
He expects the arena to have an effect on Sacramento's unemployment rate, currently at 9 percent, as soon as the scope of the project becomes clearer.
These are all positive developments for the Kings. The team's current arena, Sleep Train Arena, is extremely antiquated. Upgrading to a new building has been a goal for years, but nothing ever came of it.
With the Ranadive group aggressively moving forward on the project, it looks like it will come to fruition this time, giving the team the new arena it needs and boosting a stagnate economy in California's capital.
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