In another indication of how seriously City Hall is taking the prospect of an arena at Downtown Plaza, City Manager John Shirey's office has launched a feasibility analysis of the site.
That analysis will examine the different locations at the Downtown Plaza site where an arena could fit, an arena's impact on utilities and the transportation infrastructure near the site. JMA Ventures, the firm that bought the mall last year, conducted its own feasibility study of placing an arena at the mall.
Billionaire Ron Burkle - who along with 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov is discussing a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings - has advocated directly to NBA Commissioner David Stern for building an arena at Downtown Plaza.
Burkle and Mastrov are expected to be part of a Sacramento bid for the Kings that Mayor Kevin Johnson is assembling in an attempt to block the team's sale to a group seeking to move the franchise to Seattle. The mayor said he wants that bid to include a solid arena plan.
Shirey also announced this week that he was rehiring arena consultant Dan Barrett to assist the city in the likely event that an arena plan is developed in the coming weeks. Barrett worked for Sacramento last year, when the city, Stern and the Kings negotiated a financing plan for a new arena. That plan eventually fell apart when the Maloof family, who own the Kings, backed out.
"While things are fluid at this point, we want to be ready for any eventuality," Shirey told the City Council on Tuesday.
Councilman Allen Warren, who sits on a City Council subcommittee exploring the arena issue, also requested weekly updates to the council on the ongoing Kings saga.
"Things are moving very quickly," he said.