NATOMAS, Calif. (KTXL) — Five years after the Sacramento Kings left Natomas for their new downtown digs at the Golden 1 Center, the team made good on its promise to help redevelop the outdated Sleep Train Arena site.
There have been a lot of different ideas tossed around with what to do with the old arena, including a new home for the Sacramento Zoo or a new ballpark to bring the Oakland A’s to the area.
But number one on the list all along was a state-of-the-art hospital and training facility.
Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby announced Wednesday the old Sleep Train Arena site will soon be home to a new California Northstate University medical school and state-of-the-art teaching hospital.
“It’s not even just a hospital, it’s an entire campus,” Ashby said. “They want to do things here so differently.”
“I saw this as, really, the first hospital system of the 21st century,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. “I see it as a platform, I see it as a hub, I see it as an ecosystem.”
The Natomas region has spent the last 10 years searching for another major economic driver for the region.
“There is an economic analysis that the hospital did and it is a $4 billion economic engine over 10 years, according to their analysis,” Ashby said.
“This is as big as it gets,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “When you think about a new hospital, at least 3,000 high-wage jobs, this is exactly what we promised not only the people in Natomas but the city.”
The Kings donated 35 developable acres at the site, a major puzzle piece for the project.
“In terms of doing something meaningful over here, doing something meaningful downtown, lighting up the economy, creating what I think is the city 3.0, the city of the future, you know this is a big part of that puzzle,” Ranadive said.
Wednesday’s announcement puts to rest a long-term struggle for Northstate University, which has been trying to build in Elk Grove and had recently talked with Rancho Cordova.
“The capital city is always in play,” Steinberg said.
“This is good for Elk Grove, too, and Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights and wherever else, because Sacramento is the hub. This is an easy spot to get to,” Ashby explained. “We know that because 16,000 people used to come here any given night to cheer on their team. So, we know that they can get here, and so it’s the perfect place to put a hospital.”
The groundbreaking starts around the first of the year. The arena will be demolished before the end of the year in order for construction to start.