Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Arena Summit

Today Federal officials were in Sacramento for a regional meeting to discuss ways in how to advancing development for a new sports complex.

Officials meet with Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Sacramento First Task Force who was assigned the job of evaluating seven proposals for a new sports and entertainment center to replace Arco Arena in North Natomas. The 12-member task force meet with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation. The meeting is expected to explore ways the federal government might support a public-private partnership for a new sports complex.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"The Sacramento Convergence" Land-Swap Arena Deal

This is the most complex proposal of the seven and also appears to have the most supporters. With the NBA and Maloofs liking it, this could be the plan that moves to the next phase. In short, this deal involves selling Cal Expo land for redevelopment that would help finance a new arena, the old Arco site would become the new location for the state fairgrounds using Arco Arena as an exhibit hall, and the Railyards site would become Sacramento’s new entertainment sports complex.

I see a few sticking points before this plan can happen. First, will the State agree in selling Cal Expo to help pay for Sacramento’s new entertainment complex? Will the $68 million loan the Kings owe the city be forgiven? How will a new state-of-the-art fairground in Natomas be paid for if all the money from selling Cal-Expo goes to building the new sports complex in the railyards? This whole thing is vary complicated. The numbers also don’t add up when the cost to build a new fairground is also included into the over all development costs. The sale of land only pays for a percentage of the new arena in the railyards and not a new fairground to be built in Natomas.

Remolding of the current fairgrounds is the most cost effective way to upgrade dated Cal Expo, not building a new one at more that twice the cost. We all know that this is not what this whole proposal is all about, it’s about building a new arena for the city. It appears to me at this point, the movers and shakers of this deal aren’t even thinking about this part of the equation right now, but it will have to be addressed at some point.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The New Cal Expo 2015

Doug Tatara is the creator of the “Sacramento 2015” or “The New Cal Expo” which would build a new arena, theme park and express monorail between downtown and Cal Expo. Doug’s concept includes building a working theme park/entertainment mall which would be a celebration of California. The Sate Fair would be relocated to the racetrack property and both facilities would operate concurrently. This proposal has a unique financing program called Corporate Sponsors Equity Marketing Program that could raise $500 million by asking the top 100 advertisers in the country who spend $300 million annually on advertising and ask them to join a new entity that will own the arena. To participate they must contribute $20 million for a 20 years prepaid marketing commitment. Doug believes that if 25 corporate sponsors see the value in this venture, $500 million could be raised.

I’m like the financial creativity Doug brings with his proposal but I still dislike this location for a new arena unless they upgrade and widen the Capitol City Freeway. I have never understood why the east bound lanes before leaving downtown are at four lanes but then reduced to two lanes after Exposition Blvd. For an area that supposes to accommodate thousands of visitors a day during the State Fair, this strange freeway orientation seems to spell trouble year round and even more so when large events are be hosted at Cal Expo. I’m also certain the McKinley East Sacramento Neighborhood Association will fight this proposal tooth and nail.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Natomas ESC Arena Proposal

The Natomas ESC Partners have a vision to build a new arena to the north of the old Arco Arena with the intent to using both facilities and doubling the 200 annual events currently held at Arco Arena. The development team would enter into a public-private partnership with the City of Sacramento in order to gain control of the 100-acre City owned property. There would be a ground lease (“site lease”) between a newly created corporation and the City. The level of revenue sharing and operational control of the new complex would be subject to negotiations between the City and the owner of the facilities. Upon termination of the site lease all improvements would revert back to the land owner, the City of Sacramento. Natomas NSC Partners will be working with design and architectural firms such as NBBJ who designed the Staple Center in Los Angeles as well as Nachl & Lewis architects that brought Sacramento the US Federal Courthouse on “I” Street.

The proposed entertainment and Sports Complex would also include a high-rise hotel, green tech Research Park and an interwoven greenbelt. Their financing plan includes naming rights, pouring rights, private investment, seat-preference bonds, advertising rights and the sale of luxury suites. They will also be looking for access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing which they say they have adequate experience in for areas such as landmark projects like this. If this proposal was chosen by September of this year they believe a Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Complex would be constructed and operational for the 2014 NBA Basketball Season.

This location (they say) is the least expensive site to develop amongst those other plans under consideration, although they did not name a price. I see the parking as an issue with a majority of it on the south side of Arco Arena, it just seem odd compared to other suburban stadiums and arenas and people won’t like that. I also see the entire green park space as a problem on two counts. One, the cost in maintaining so much green acreage when the city gets the facilities and land back after the lease is terminated. Our city is already struggling to keep the parks we have in good shape, this additional work load would really stretch resources. Two, the addition green park space would need to be watered and put even more of a strain on a city that’s been suffering from drought fatigue for years. Don’t get me wrong, I love parks and everything they bring to a community but I think this one is too big. I believe three or four smaller parks spread through the area would make a bigger impact on near by residential communities.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility Event and Art Center

Thomas Enterprises, Inc. has a proposal of a Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility (“SITF”) that would make our city proud. To be located just behind the RR Depot after the tracks are moved north, this would be a $500 project that would have key design aspects including visual references to the history of the project site and its significance as the western terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad. Similar architectural design elements would be integrated into the complex like the existing historic Depot, REA building, and Central Shops Historic District. The Arts Center along with the elevated Pedestrian Bridge will serve to link the historic districts and downtown Sacramento as a unique, historic, point of destination with a clear sense of purpose and place for visitors and residents. A parking structure for 1,200 parking spaces would be attached to the SITF building with the intent to distribute parking for the Event Center within a 15 minute stroll, using downtown’s existing 12,000 public and private spaces within that radius.

Their financing strategy includes a public-private partnership (“PPP”) comprised of the City of Sacramento, Thomas together with other partners. The PPP will include the operators of the Community Event Center and the Community Art Center as well as other developers and public entities. It is anticipated that the Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility including the Events Center and Arts Center, will be publicly owned. The land to build the SITF is already owned as a PPP and does not require any acquisition costs or significant infrastructure costs.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Core Arena Proposal

This concept is one of my favorites and turns what is now four blocks of a dying mall into an entrainment complex with a shopping mall wrapping it on three sides. I really like the rendering above of the arenas glass walls traveling up its wall opening it up to people on the street. The roof top gardens are also a special feature that would be unique that everyone could enjoy.

I believe the developer expects to spend around $500 million to build this all-around handsome center but something tells me it would be closer to $700 million after the land is bought from Westfield and demolition costs are included. I don’t remember hearing where financing would come from but that doe’s not mean it was not discussed during the busy night. If anybody can fill me in please post a comment.

This is the kind of facility that would really draw people to the area and I hope it can be pushed forward in the development process. The proposal was presented by Ali Mackani with the support of Lionakis and and The Makers Lab.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Arena Sports and Entertainment Concepts

Tonight’s arena presentations at City Hall were inspiring. Of the seven original proposals submitted to City Hall last month, three stood out in my mind as having potential to take the next step if funding can be found. Because there were so many renderings to post and I’m short on time for the next couple days, I’ll post one or two of the proposals a day till I get them all up. Tripp Development was the only proposal that did not display any visuals or hand out any info on their proposal. They did make a seven minute presentation talking about the cities goals and ideas to obtain financing, but that was about it.

I’ll start with one that was called the Sacramento Riverfront Entertainment and Sports Complex by M & M Group who was energized with both renderings and ideas to gain financing to move forward. I personally think this one is a no-go since the city just approved another Dock's development at the site and the developer still has three years to start construction before their permits expire. The M & M Group ideas also include an electric Trolley that runs from Front Street up R Street to 19th Street as well as a RT Entertainment Trolley line that swings up Broadway and over to midtown and then back to the proposed arena. Although some parking will be built next to the structure, most parking and will rely on people to park at already existing parking structures downtown and then take the Trolley to the arena. I love the idea of an arena on the river but I just don’t feel it with this one. Here’s a link to learn more about the proposal and their financing ideas estimated at $750 million .

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Arena Proposals Open House

This Thursday the 14th the Sacramento Arena Task Force will showcase all seven of the arena proposals in the lobby of City Hall at 915 I Street. Each developer will make a short presentation starting a 5 pm with developers afterward taking questions from the public.

Last week I got to see one of the proposals by Ali Mackani and Team and I was impressed with the amount of detail and time spent to make the proposal feasible. The idea of remaking the east end of the mall into a arena/shopping center with roof top gardens was an innovative way to improve the four block area. The open house will be from 5 to 7 pm this Thursday.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sacramento River Crossing Study

The new City of Sacramento General Plan includes additional Sacramento River crossings without specifying the location or number of crossings or the transportation modes served by new crossings. The cost of the study will be $260,000 with both The City of Sacramento and the City of West Sacramento sharing the costs for the planning study with West Sacramento contributing $60,000 to that total. The study is expected to be completed in one year, starting in January and ending in December 2010.

The study will include:
• A transparent and proactive public outreach process;
• A purpose and need statement which is grounded in the community values stated in the two cities' General Plan policies and expressed by stakeholders;
• Development of alternatives to include build and no-build scenarios that consider various bridge cross sections types (i.e. types of travel modes that are served), various locations, and number of crossings;
• Planning level analysis of opportunities, constraints, land use implications, impact assessments, travel demand modeling, and costs estimates to inform the process.