Sacramentans crammed into Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night to watch the Kings wrap up their eighth consecutive losing season. Unlike last year’s finale, when a possible move to Seattle was under discussion, the mood was almost purely celebratory.

The number of flashing digital billboards along Sacramento freeways could double as the result of a deal nearing completion between the city and the Sacramento Kings. The plan will allow the Kings to erect six changeable-display signs over the next few years. It’s part of a larger agreement being negotiated between the city and the team’s owners to build a $448 million arena in Downtown Plaza.

The Sacramento Kings’ downtown $448 million arena dream took a step toward reality Thursday with initial City Hall approval of the building design and hundreds of pages of planning and environmental documents, zoning changes and variances.

Sacramento’s planned downtown sports and entertainment arena just got more compact, shorter, and, according to its architect, better.

A coalition of unions and their supporters pressed Sacramento city officials Wednesday to ensure that at least portions of the so-called “ancillary development” surrounding the new Kings arena be unionized, particularly the proposed hotel.

The shovel will be sliced into the ground, the demolition crew crushing away on site, the traffic cramping our style long before Kevin Johnson is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Flush with a court victory giving the city of Sacramento full control of its planned downtown arena site, officials say they plan to unveil key details of the arena deal in the next few weeks, culminating in a formal City Council vote on the deal May 13.

The city of Sacramento today cemented its hold on the former Macy’s men’s store at Downtown Plaza, the last piece of real estate needed to build the new Kings arena, after an appellate court rejected an effort by the building’s owners to regain control of the property.

The city of Sacramento holds the keys to the old Macy’s men’s store at Downtown Plaza, but a new legal challenge makes it unclear how soon it can be torn down to make way for the new Kings arena.

Should the construction of an arena at Downtown Plaza unearth a burial ground of the Miwok Indian tribe, those relics will be preserved. Same goes for fossils or artifacts from an early city settlement. Should the Pre-Flite Lounge – which has the misfortune of sitting directly where the new arena is planned – also be spared?

For years, Downtown Plaza shoppers have strolled past works from noted local artists. When the mall gets knocked down for an arena, where will the art go?

The financial firms that controlled the former Macy’s men’s clothing store have appealed a Sacramento judge’s ruling to grant control of the property to the city of Sacramento and the Kings through eminent domain.

The real estate is under control and most of the legal challenges are history. Now the city of Sacramento and the Kings are making a final push to get construction going on the team’s long-delayed new arena later this spring.

Sacramento officials had the former Macy’s men’s store building practically in their grasp Wednesday, paving the way for construction of the new Kings arena, only to have a judge say he would think a while longer about control of the vacant property.

It’s a milestone for a city that was written off in the national press as it strained to prevent the most recognizable Sacramento business – the Kings – from moving to another city.

Sacramento and the Kings are on the verge of overcoming one of the last major legal obstacles to a downtown arena after a judge said he’ll probably give the city control of the final piece of real estate needed for the $448million project.

A judge rejected an attempt to relocate the city of Sacramento’s lawsuit to take control of the last parcel of land needed to build the new Sacramento Kings arena.

Just a week ago, the city of Sacramento overcame a huge legal hurdle to its proposed subsidy for the new Kings arena at Downtown Plaza. Now officials are trying to navigate through another turbulent courtroom issue: control of the final piece of real estate needed to build the $448million arena.

So how much does it cost to build a smartphone app with a Kings cowbell? As much as $400,000, apparently.

A leader of one of the political campaigns that attempted to force a public vote on Sacramento’s arena plan said this morning that the group will not appeal a judge’s ruling that struck the measure from the ballot.

With a judge unwilling to overlook their mistakes, two Sacramento taxpayer groups lost their legal fight Wednesday to force a vote on the city’s planned $258 million contribution toward a new downtown Kings arena.

In final legal argument before judge’s ruling, anti-subsidy group says ballot initiative wouldn’t restrict City Council powers.

If there is one critical issue that’s been obscured in the months of public debate over building a downtown arena in Sacramento, it’s that our elected officials are empowered by a city charter to decide the financing of such projects.

A judge all but slammed the door Friday on the efforts of two taxpayer groups to mount a ballot-box challenge to the public subsidy for the new Sacramento Kings arena, saying the groups made significant errors in the initiative petitions they circulated among the city’s voters.

Replay a live blog as Sacramento Bee reporters Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis cover a hearing Friday on whether to uphold the Sacramento city clerk's decision to disqualify petitions that would have placed a measure on the June ballot to require a public vote before the city could subsidize a new arena.

Instead of tentative ruling, judge summons attorneys for court hearing on suit over anti-subsidy petitions.

On the eve of a judge’s ruling on whether a downtown arena should go to a public vote or not, it seems a good time to clear up some misunderstandings.

Advocates for a public vote on a proposed downtown Sacramento arena acknowledged again Tuesday they made errors in their petition drive - saying “more care and attention should have been the order of the day” – but characterized the errors as minor and said the nearly 23,000 voters who signed the petition should not be punished.

For a long time, Johnson has been giving a good imitation of a one-trick-pony. It’s been Kings and the arena – all day, every day. But now it’s time of City Hall to move on.

In a broad attack against anti-subsidy campaign, Kings PAC cites secret funding by Seattle’s Chris Hansen.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson promoted new park construction in the city, levee improvements and support for local arts groups in his address. But the Kings took center stage, with more than half the mayor’s speech dedicated to the team’s future in Sacramento and the city’s plan to contribute $258 million toward a new $448 million arena at the Downtown Plaza.

Intensifying the court battle over an abandoned department store needed for the new Sacramento Kings arena, the property’s out-of-town owners are seeking a change of venue in the city’s eminent domain lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleging fraud in the deal to build a downtown arena in Sacramento will never prove its case in court – but that doesn’t seem to be the objective.This is a smear campaign masquerading as a lawsuit.

Chris Rufer didn’t set out to become the main money man in the most divisive political campaign Sacramento has seen in years. It’s just that, as a registered Libertarian, he says he passionately believes the public shouldn’t spend a dime to help pay for the construction of a new Kings arena.

Sacramento City Councilman Kevin McCarty this week testified he thinks city officials added millions of dollars worth of “sweeteners” to the proposed subsidy for the new Kings arena to placate investors who believed they were overpaying to buy the team.

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver toured the proposed site of the new Sacramento Kings arena late Wednesday, not longer after declaring he’s confident the venue will get built despite a possible public vote on the project.

Old Sacramento business leaders worry the downtown arena could hurt their area, making it harder for people to get to Old Sacramento, and potentially force businesses in the historic district to close.

The Sacramento Kings have agreed to pay $500,000 to help launch a downtown streetcar line as part of a landmark deal with Caltrans to reduce traffic tie-ups that an arena is expected to cause on local freeways, state and city officials say.

Nicholas Docous says it looks like a king’s crown. Another Sacramento architect, Steven Johnson, dismisses it as something closer to a crushed aluminum can, discarded downtown. Rob Rothblatt, head of the team designing the arena, offers a grand view, likening it to Half Dome with its reach-for-the-sky profile.

The Sacramento Kings and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Friday jumped into the lawsuit over the proposed vote on the team’s new downtown arena.

The leaders of STOP, Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, filed a lawsuit today against city officials over their refusal to certify ballot petitions challenging the proposed sports arena subsidy.

Check in and see what The Sacramento Bee's arena reporting team had to say during a live chat focusing on key arena issues earlier today. Also get a feel for what chat participants were thinking about some critical questions.

There are no real alternatives to the downtown arena that the Kings’ owners plan to build. No one else has shown the willingness, backed up with the money, to transform a moribund section of the city.

Mayor Kevin Johnson formally unveiled drawings of the new Sacramento Kings arena to an audience of community leaders today and declared that city officials believe they can keep a proposed public vote on the arena subsidy off the ballot.

The Sacramento Kings unveiled final drawings of their planned downtown arena, revealing a partially see-through building they say captures what is quintessentially Sacramento, without looking quite like anything else that has been built here.

Union leaders and building contractors rallied in support of the proposed NBA arena in Sacramento today, although a group representing some contractors said it would withhold its backing if construction of the hotel rooms, stores and restaurants surrounding the arena was limited to union shops.

Economic engine or hopeless boondoggle?

A judge will likely decide the question of whether there should be a public vote on the approval of an arena or not – and the will of registered voters is a powerful force that no judge will dismiss lightly.

The campaign to force a public vote on Sacramento’s downtown arena plan was dealt a considerable blow Friday, when the city’s top elections official rejected the measure for “major” legal flaws and ruled it should not appear on the June ballot.

After months of talks, the Sacramento Kings on Thursday bought Downtown Plaza, the site of a planned $448 million arena.

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