Sacramento officials call arena talks with NBA and others constructive

Published: Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

Sacramento city officials described their initial arena meeting with the NBA on Wednesday as constructive.

The meeting, held in Dallas, is expected to be the first in a series of discussions between the National Basketball Association and the city as the two sides attempt to agree on financing and development plans for a new sports-and-entertainment facility in downtown Sacramento.

In a joint statement, Mayor Kevin Johnson and City Manager John Shirey said the conversation focused on making progress before the end of the year.

"All sides expressed a desire to continue to work collaboratively," it read. "Our focus is on putting in place a public-private partnership that will put the taxpayers first and generate more than 4,000 jobs and $150 million in annual economic activity in the city."

NBA officials could not be reached for comment. Sacramento Kings officials were not present. Team officials said they expected to be briefed by the NBA.

In a memo to city officials, Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said NBA representatives were pleased with a new state law that will allow an expedited legal process if the environmental review of an arena project is challenged.

The two groups are expected to continue meeting. City officials did not lay out any timeline or dates.

The Sacramento City Council has yet to approve any financing plan for an arena. City officials and consultants are analyzing financing possibilities.

The NBA and Kings have given the city until March 1 to show it has an achievable plan for building a new arena. Otherwise, the Kings owners have said they would look to move the team to another city.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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