Now that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has bagged his "whales," it's up to City Manager John Shirey and his arena negotiating team to come up with a viable way to pay for demolishing part of Downtown Plaza and replacing it with an arena -- at a price tag estimated at $400 million.
City officials today said the group of consultants and city staff members is well on its way to preparing a preliminary term sheet to present to the City Council for discussion - at more than one meeting - likely in early April.
"We will be able to put together a substantial set of terms," Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said. "All parties agree. We have time and we will get there."
The city is up against a mid-April deadline to put together an arena deal in its effort to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle. The team's managing owners, the Maloof family, have signed a tentative deal to sell the team to a Seattle group. The NBA board of governors is scheduled to vote April 18 yes or no on the sale.
Johnson announced on Thursday night he is championing a local group led by 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov of the Bay Area and Southern California billionaire businessman Ron Burkle to persuade the NBA to nullify the Seattle deal.
If the NBA nixes the Seattle deal, Johnson said he hopes the Maloofs would agree to sell instead to Mastrov and Burkle. Mastrov submitted their bid to the NBA this morning.
The submission was mentioned in a tweet by Johnson, who said it was "a proud day for Sacramento."
A source familiar with the bid said it was delivered to the NBA electronically at about 8:45 a.m. Pacific time.
The source called the bid very close and competitive with the Seattle offer, which values the franchise at $525 million. That implies a $341 million payout for the 65 percent controlled by the Maloofs.
But for Sacramento's offer to be taken seriously, it must include definitive plans for a new arena, NBA officials said.
A major outstanding question has yet to be resolved: How much money will city officials feel comfortable putting into the mix?
In the ill-fated arena deal last year with the Maloof family, the council agreed to $255 million in city money, most of it to come from a plan to leverage future city downtown parking garage revenues. City Council member Kevin McCarty has argued that is way too much money for the city to contribute. Other council members say they are waiting to hear more from city staff before deciding.
City officials say the value of the city's parking assets may be less now than last year's analysis showed. They are expecting a report back early next week from a parking consultant, and will then plug those numbers into revenue modeling sheets. City Treasurer Russ Fehr will run a risk analysis on the numbers, and report his findings and recommendations to the council.
The Downtown Plaza location creates a complicating factor for the city. An arena there likely will take out 1,000 of the 2,000 parking spots at the site, officials said, and may force reconstruction work to make the remaining spots usable. The loss of those spots would reduce the value of the city's overall downtown parking assets, officials have said.