Posted on February 9, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Thursday, Feb 23 at 4:28 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The NBA's Kings are probably key to a Seattle or Bellevue arena plan. But it all depends on whether Sacramento will try to keep their team by building a new arena for the team's owners.
California's capital city has issues. Eleven percent unemployment, office vacancy over 23 percent and a civic franchise on the verge of skipping town.
"This is the next big thing for Sacramento," said Jeremiah Jackson. "I'm an optomist by nature."
Jackson is the project manager for 'Think Big Sacramento.' leading the financing plan for a new arena, to keep the kings in the city
He believes half the $400 million pricetag for a building on the city's old railyards will come from the city leasing parking meters, and lots, to a private contractor.
"it's kind of a lynchpin of the financing plan," said Jackson.
The plan has support from restaurant owners like Lina Fat.
"It's kind of now or never," said Fat. "It was opened by my father in law in 1939."
But the rest of the project financing is still unclear.
'Think Big' says the Maloof family will pay about $80 million of the cost. But the King's owners, already millions in debt to the city and the NBA, have declined to give interviews or specifics. Their silence as quiet as the railyards on a given night.
Even, one-time supporter Terry Rivasplata is skeptical of the parking plan and it's success.
"These buildings were already dead," said Rivasplata. "I believe the money needs to be used somewhere else."
Jackson acknowledges time is running short and Seattle's interests are strong.
"We know Seattle and Anaheim are lurking, and if city is not able to get a deal done, those cities will be in play," said Jackson.
But he still believes the team will beat the buzzer, which will sound three weeks from Thursday.