Story Summary

A New Kings Era

In May 2013, the Maloof brothers sold their majority ownership of the Sacramento Kings to a group of investors led by Vivek Ranadive. The group has plans to build a new sports and entertainment complex at the site of the Downtown Plaza in downtown Sacramento.

Developer Mark Friedman said “This is the moment everything changes in Sacramento” after the finished deal became public knowledge.

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4 days ago

Kings Fans End Season without Uncertainty

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For Kings fans, their biggest concerns heading into the off-season will be what happens with players Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay, and that is a far cry from the turmoil of the last two years.

“The biggest difference is we all know we’ll be back in this building in the Fall, and we’re going to be able to follow this Kings team for years to come,” Kings TV Broadcaster Grant Napear said.

Wednesday night’s season finale’ marked the first time Kings fans haven’t had to wonder, worry, or cry about the team’s future in Sacramento.

“There is the new ownership group, new management, I mean everything is in place,” Napear said.  “The new arena is going to happen, and I think people don’t have any more doubt in their mind.”

Attendance is up, spirits are up, and now Kings fans have only one more thing to look forward to.  A winning team.

“That is the next step,” Napear said. “And this management group is getting started on it right away.”

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It’s a spot known around the world, but would you want to live there if some version of Times Square popped up around the planned new arena for the Kings?

“The idea of height limits and lighting limits and those kinds of things. I’d say be bold,” Robert Rich said as he encouraged Sacramento’s Planning and Design Commissioners at their Thursday meeting.

“When it comes to signage on the building itself, I would like to see that minimized to the greatest extent possible,” Commissioner Phyllis Newton said.

Just what kind of light bulb moment Sacramento should have around a proposed $448 million facility came out of the dark before the commission.

The public got its first look at a  3D image of the special sign district that could telegraph all the arena has to offer.

Preliminary plans feature two designated areas – one allowing for several different types of signs with digital animation.

Signs in the other would be restricted in size and number.

Within those areas would be three zones.

They would provide  for messaging from zero to more than 75 feet high with deference to dense traffic and residential concerns.

It’s the first full day of planning and the second of celebration without threat of a lawsuit that could have sent the city’s planned arena subsidy to the polls.

It’s now confirmed there will be no appeal of that $258 million plan.

“It’s a great day. We’re just excited in general, not any particular thing about the lawsuit, just the project as a whole,” Kunal Merchant, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Sacramento Kings.

With the cloud of one lawsuit lifted, the clearer skies gave the Kings’ leadership a chance to unveil plans for a series of workshops to help bidders prepare for arena construction jobs.

The first will be held March 6 at the Robertson Community Center in Sacramento.

The Sacramento Kings released a new batch of arena renderings Wednesday.

Mayor Kevin Johnson showcased some of them during his State of the City address. The drawings gives us the first look at what the inside would look like during a concert (a packed Tesla concert, to be exact) as well as plazas and walkways.

Check out the renderings below.

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Firsts are always special.

“I love it here. My first trip [as NBA commissioner] is to Sacramento to be with [Kings owner Vivek Ranadive],” Adam Silver said as he headed in to watch the Sacramento Kings wrestle with the Raptors.

A delayed landing in Sacramento due to bad weather back east, didn’t damper his enthusiasm for the the new throne the Kings have planned.

“It’s fantastic. As Vivek says, it’s NBA 3.0,” he said.

Photos: Proposed New Kings Arena Plans

This visit from the top of basketball was not lost on the fans who fought all  of 2013 to show the NBA their team should stay in their town.

“I think he’ll be a great commissioner and I’m really glad he’s here tonight to see the game,” Kings fan Lynne Hodge as she waved a fan featuring Silver’s likeness made by CrownDowntown as a welcome gesture.

At this juncture of a team being rebuilt by new owners and a promise to the NBA for a new arena, Silver’s visit isn’t all about smiling  face fans.

A lawsuit looms by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork to reinstate their petition to put the city’s arena plan to a public vote.

That petition was tossed out last month by the city clerk because varying versions meant all voters weren’t presented with the same information.

“I think there’re serious problems when you don’t have language, the same language and I think a court would be hard-pressed to go ahead and allow it to go through,” Jerry Kumpf, a fan from Citrus Heights, said during the game.

Confidence from the crowd  has been consistent as well as from Kings leadership.

“All systems go,” said Kings President Chris Granger when asked about the arena lawsuit Wednesday night.

But, what would be the word from the man who could reverse Sacramento’s fortunes in keeping the Kings if the arena doesn’t become a reality?

“I’ve known Kevin Johnson for 20 years, player, broadcaster  and now mayor. I’ve been to dozens of meetings with political advisers and talking to Vivek and his partners,” Silver told reporters. “I’m absolutely confident it’s going to get done.”

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The new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, gets a private tour of the Downtown Plaza arena site.
Courtesy: Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson’s Office

Silver toured the Downtown Plaza, the proposed site for the new arena, late Wednesday night after the Kings game. The private tour was led by Mayor Johnson and leaders of the new Kings ownership group.

With all the work done by Ranadive to create excitement for the Kings in India, Silver also says he’s planning a joint visit there in the spring.

According to Silver, Indian arena infrastructure is not yet in place, but he says pre-season games there might be a possibility in the future.

On top of all that, the Kings defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-101.

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Sacramento City Clerk Rejects STOP Petition

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Local designers have expressed their critiques on the proposed new Downtown Kings arena. FOX40 exclusively spoke to the lead architect, Rob Rothblatt of AECOM for reaction.

“The world does not expect your average arena anymore,” Rothblatt said. He explained that the $448 million project is a game-changer for sports arena design.

“Most of these arenas are looking in, and they are looking just at the basketball court, and they don’t have a lot of windows,” Rothblatt said. “And how do you turn that inside out and start interacting with this neighborhood? That’s what we thought about.”

The new arena will have full LEED certification (high sustainability standards), natural artistic motifs and materials reflecting Northern California, an open top roof, and a mixed-use plaza surrounding the arena.

Initially, designers also brainstormed other styles. They imagined an all-glass boxy arena with a large open courtyard like the Spanish Plaza Mayor. However, when they prioritized sustainability, the current design was born.

However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the design as Rothblatt and his team. Some called the arena a King’s crown. Others said it looks like a crushed Aluminum can.

“The giant aircraft hanger doors, which nobody else has, I don’t think those are crushed aluminum cans items,” Rothblatt defended. “I don’t know who said that, and I didn’t meet them at a public commission, but I would liked to, if they want to get involved in that discussion.”

With a court battle looming, there us still a chance this project may never come to fruition.

“That’s always a chance you take as an architect” Rothblatt said. “What we try to do, is work with what we were given, do the best we can for our client and hope that the whole project can move forward.”

 

More: 

Take a look at the arena renderings

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Sacramento Kings fans stayed up late Monday night for a glimpse at official renderings of the planned new downtown arena.

Kings President Chris Granger described the arena’s features including a huge “grand entrance,” indoor-outdoor balconies and dining platforms.

The team said the official design was conceived after six months of gathering input from the public.

“Our arena will not be limited by its seating capacity,” Granger said.

The arena is also planned to have a farm-to-fork menu for many concession stands.

Watch the video and see the renderings from the Sacramento Kings below:

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Piece by piece the Kings organization is taking over what many hope will be its new permanent home.

Much of Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza is now under the control of the Kings’ new ownership group. Most, but not all.

A key part of the arena puzzle and how the STOP petition effort could affect it all are still unanswered questions.

Thursday it was announced that JMA Ventures and Downtown Properties would sell Downtown Plaza to the Kings’ ownership group. The plaza’s 1.5 million square feet of space is slated to become a mixed-use office, retail and housing hub along with an arena.

However, the deal does not resolve the months-long negotiation Sacramento has been in trying to acquire the old Macy’s men’s store.

The Macy’s property is owned by a different group than JMA Ventures.

An independent appraiser has set the value of the store along K Street at $4.35 million, however the parties involved in the negotiations have not agreed that is the selling price.

Stalls during the negotiations prompted Sacramento to move forward with eminent domain filings earlier this month.

But all of these efforts may be moot if the petition effort by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork is successful and the arena subsidy issue is placed on a ballot this year.

The Sacramento County Registrar of Voters has finalized a count of valid petition signatures, that taken at face value would quality the petition for placement on the June ballot.

STOP wants voters to have a say in the city’s planned subsidy for the arena project.

The county registrar ran several checks on the signatures and petitions at the request of the city, including looking at the timeframe that Chris Hansen claims he was unwittingly funding STOP petition signature gatherers. Hansen is the Seattle billionaire who tried to buy the Sacramento Kings and move the team.

FOX40 has confirmed all the petitions have been returned to the city clerk, and it is now up to that office to decide if the petition will be accepted.

As FOX40 has reported, how the signatures were gathered and the different versions of the petition that folks signed could face a court challenge.

The signatures could also get tossed by the city clerk for illegalities before that matter gets to a judge.

FOX40 will continue to follow developments on this effort.

Downtown Plaza Sold to Kings Group

Sacramento Officially Files for Eminent Domain for Vacant Macy’s Store

PHOTOS: What the new arena could look like

Group Circulates Petition for Voter Approval on Arena Subsidy

Mounting Evidence Shows STOP Met with Lawyers Tied to Chris HansenSACRAMENTO-

JMA Ventures announced Thursday that they’ve sold the Downtown Plaza to the Sacramento Kings ownership group.

The mall currently sits where a planned new arena will go.

In a news release, JMA said it would keep day-to-day mall operations going and work with the Kings during the transition into a new sports and entertainment complex.

“We are thrilled to close this transaction as it is another important step in the process of building a world-class arena in the heart of downtown with a vibrant, active development surrounding it,” Kings President Chris Granger said.

JMA bought the property from Westfield in 2012.

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In keeping with their new owner’s Silicon Valley roots, the Sacramento Kings have announced that they will be using Google Glass during games to help give fans a courtside view no matter where they are sitting.

A preview video, filmed during the Kings’ Jan. 12 match against the Cleveland Cavaliers, of what fans can expect has been released by the team. The technology will be rolled out in full on Jan. 24 for their match against the Indiana Pacers.

If the experience is anything like the preview video, expect to see shots that get up close and personal with the team.

The team notes that they will be the first professional sports team to use Google Glass.

Last week, the Kings also announced that they are starting to accept the virtual currency known as Bitcoin.

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