The Kings deal is final, as the Sacramento Bee reports, and the future of downtown development, and that of our two river fronts, is looking very positive.
So much credit has to go to the leader of this effort, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, Bravo!
“Sacramento has kept its Kings but is facing strict deadlines, imposed by the NBA, for building the team a fancy new arena.
“Hours after Vivek Ranadive and his partners completed the record-setting purchase of the franchise from the Maloof family, NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed that the Ranadive group must meet “a series of benchmarks” for a new arena – or risk losing the Kings to another city.
“If deadlines are blown, Stern told The Sacramento Bee, the NBA has the option of pulling the Kings out of Sacramento and arranging for the team’s sale to new owners.
“The Ranadive group agreed to the deadlines in writing, Stern said.
“Stern said he doesn’t expect Sacramento to miss its deadlines, but league owners insisted on the doomsday option “in the unlikely event” Sacramento can’t get the arena project rolling in a “reasonable” amount of time.
“The NBA is insisting that the building at Downtown Plaza open no later than 2017 – one year later than city officials forecast. The rival investors who tried unsuccessfully to move the team to Seattle agreed to similar deadlines, Stern said.
“The new Kings owners – the eighth in the franchise’s history – expressed certainty that they can build the arena by the deadline. Ranadive spokesman Adam Mendelsohn said the team is “absolutely confident about the timeline with the NBA and the commitments that have been made” to construct a new arena.
“Ranadive’s group closed escrow on the team’s purchase early Friday – putting the finishing touches on a comeback that surprised Stern, the Maloof family and the rival bidders from Seattle. Back in January, when the Maloofs made their deal to sell the team to investors from Seattle, few in the league gave Sacramento much of a chance to keep the Kings….
“Sacramento had succeeded in keeping the Kings from moving to Anaheim in 2011. Nevertheless, the Maloofs and the Seattle investors assumed the path to Seattle was open. They were taken aback by the effort mounted by the mayor and the Ranadive group, Maloof said.
“We were all surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think there was a buyer (to keep the team in Sacramento). They should be commended; the mayor should be commended.”
“Stern said he was approached months ago about the Kings by Ranadive, already a minority partner in the Golden State Warriors. The commissioner introduced Ranadive to Johnson, who was recruiting investors to put together a counteroffer to the Seattle deal.
“Lots of people called us,” Stern said. “We directed everybody to the mayor. There were at least two or three others, very substantial investors. As they came in, we told them, ‘Don’t call us, call the mayor.’ “