Downtown Arena

One of the most troublesome areas surrounding the Parkway in terms of public safety, is the Downtown/K Street Mall.

The single major new development—as the railyards is already underway—which could turn this around would be the downtown arena, as we wrote about in an ARPPS E Letter to members in April 2012:

“[A downtown arena]…has the potential to change the way in which the downtown portions of the riverfronts of our two major rivers are used far into the future, and the vision could not be more compelling, a National Basketball Association arena for the Sacramento Kings in the old railyards putting the games—and all other events held there—within walking distance of thousands of people who work downtown….

“Our organization has not been too keen on most of the downtown development efforts over the years, but this particular effort looks to be a winner; especially for the downtown areas bordering the Parkway.

“The key to the urban use of the riverbanks in the downtown area of our two major rivers as a destination area, is downtown development, especially the long-troubled J, K & L, 7th to 10th Street grid that has been squalid for decades but which the bustling evening/nightlife the downtown arena will stimulate, will certainly change.”

And as we wrote in our Spring 2012 Newsletter:

“For those of us who have been here since the days of a bustling K Street and vital downtown, watching as one after another plan to revitalize it after the bustle left, failed; it is difficult to envision final success, but success can come, and as always, it will come when the political will is there—relentless and indomitable—to lead and channel the public desire.

“We may have finally approached the day when the political will is there and growing stronger, and the public’s desire, long muted and somewhat somnambulistic, will arise to help fulfill the challenges ahead.

“Sacramento can become a much more beautiful, vibrant city by opening more of our downtown life to our historic and majestic rivers by improving access to more user-friendly development of the riverfronts; which the building of a downtown arena will surely stimulate, and will be a large step towards fulfilling the vision many of us share of a thriving, bustling downtown anchoring our fair city.”

Now it appears that a downtown arena is back in play, as this article from the Sacramento Bee reports.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento’s drive to keep the Kings took a dramatic turn Saturday when a new group, aligned with the owner of Downtown Plaza, proposed to buy the team and build a $400 million arena on the shopping center site.

“A source close to the situation said the group was lining up deep-pocket investors to work with the mall’s new owner, JMA Ventures, and present a credible alternative to the Maloof family’s efforts to sell the Kings to a group planning to move the team to Seattle.

“We want to make a run at the Kings if we can afford the price,” said the source, who insisted on anonymity because the plan remains in its early stages.

“JMA spokesman Jeff Nead confirmed the mall owner is interested in the arena project – and has been contacted by more than one investor group considering a bid for the Kings. He declined to identify any of the investors.

“They want to work toward saving the team,” Nead said. “JMA has been getting calls from a number of people.”

“Downtown Plaza has been mentioned at least twice before as an arena site, with City Hall staff members concluding in 2004 that it was likely too expensive. But Nead said a feasibility study performed recently by AECOM – an architectural-engineering firm that has designed several NBA arenas – showed considerable promise.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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