Is keeping the Kings in Natomas an option now?

11:55 AM, Apr 13, 2012   |    comments
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NEW YORK, NY - On Friday, the Sacramento Kings leadership group, headed by George Maloof, held a press conference in New York City to address a number of issues related to the progress of Sacramento's proposed arena.

Among the various points discussed were the term sheet provided to the Kings by the city of Sacramento, the economic viability of Sacramento to build the arena, and the Kings' ability to achieve revenue targets.

One of the Maloofs' major contentions is the city of Sacramento's term sheet contained many points the Kings disagreed with from the time they received the document.

"There were one or two threshold issues we agreed on, but there were lots of issues not agreed on," explained George Maloof. One of those is the city's contention the Maloofs would pay $3.2 million in pre-development fees. The Maloofs have said no.

The Maloofs and their legal representation at the press conference said the Kings made several revisions to the term sheet and sent them back to the city on March 1. But the city has not addressed the red-lined items seven weeks later, according to Maloof attorney Barry McNeil. 

Instead, George Maloof said the term sheet presented to the Sacramento City Council five days later still contained the original terms without any of the adjustments made by the Kings.

Therefore, Kings representatives say the councilmembers voted on a term sheet they thought had been agreed upon by the Kings, but in actuality had not.

Consultant Chris Thornburg of Beacon Economics also spoke on the financial ability of Sacramento as a city to not only build a new arena, but to achieve the goals set forth in the proposal by AEG, the proposed arena operator.

Thornburg said the Kings came to him with two primary questions: How realistic were AEG's revenue assumptions and how fiscally prepared Sacramento was to undertake a project of this magnitude. 

"Sacramento, like many other cities, continues to be in fiscal distress,"  said Thornburg.  "This project would put the city on the edge of potential financial disaster."

Thornburg said the AEG's revenue projections for the new arena were "highly overblown" and based on two years in which the Kings were championship contenders in the midst of "an economy overheated by the real estate bubble."

Maloof said the possibility of renovating the current Kings' venue, Power Balance Pavilion, was discussed at their meeting with the NBA Board of Directors on Thursday.

"Maybe if this can't work, why don't we look at re-doing Power Balance Arena, the existing facility. A lot of our customers, most of our customers, enjoy going to Power Balance," Maloof said.

He said governors were receptive while NBA Commisioner David Stern thought about it, not saying yes or no. 

As for the Natomas community, Natomas Chamber of Commerce President Ed Koop said it would be great if the arena stayed there but he wasn't holding his breath.

"We're just going to hold tight right now. But definitely, from a Natomas standpoint, if the Kings and the arena stays right here, that is good news and we'll take that," Koop said.

But Maloof said he is still waiting to hear from the city on the changes made to the original terms sheet before any progress can be made.

Maloof fielded questions from the press, regularly reinforcing his desire to work with the city and keep the Kings in Sacramento. 

"We're here to stay, to get something done. We're committed to Sacramento," Maloof said.


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