Arena talks aim for deal this weekend

03/23/2013 12:00 AM

09/18/2013 12:13 PM

Sacramento arena negotiations continued today with no financing agreement - and no prognosis on when one will happen.

Speaking to the news media at a community forum in Meadowview this morning, City Manager John Shirey said city representatives will continue talking this weekend with a private equity group in hopes of pulling together an arena deal by today or Sunday.

"This is not a day off for us," Shirey said this morning. "It is just taking more time than I had anticipated, but I am sure we'll get it done. I still have confidence we will work it out."

The city manager earlier in the week had said he hoped to have a term sheet deal done by Thursday to give the council and public time to look it over. Shirey said he no longer has a deadline but indicated he feels if negotiators can come to a deal this weekend, that should leave the council and public enough time to digest what is expected to be a 15- to 20-page document prior to Tuesday night's meeting.

"If it gets too late, I'll just confer with the mayor and council" about the correct timing for bringing the issue up for a vote. He declined to say when that cut-off moment might be.

Shirey also declined to say what issues remain unresolved, but said the list of outstanding issues is small, some of it financial, some of it non-financial, but said he is confident a deal will get done. "The investors are excited about getting to New York, making that presentation," he said.

The NBA has scheduled an April 3 meeting in New York where a group of team owners will review a tentative deal, signed a month ago by the Kings owners, to sell the team to a Seattle group.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said he will allow Sacramento to make a presentation as well at that meeting, where it is expected to pitch the merits of its alternative ownership group, and of a deal to build an arena in Downtown Plaza.

Shirey has said the council could vote on a deal as late as April 2. Cutting it that short "is not preferable," he said, but it wouldn't be "the end of the world."

City officials have said they expect to contribute up to $255 million to the financing of an arena from bonding against future city downtown parking revenues. In return, the city is negotiating to receive a revenue stream from arena operations, which it will forward to the city treasury to make up for lost parking revenues to the city general fund.

The group that hopes to buy the Kings and build a downtown arena includes three heavy-hitters:

Ron Burkle, a Southern California billionaire and owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team,

Mark Mastrov, a Bay Area financier and founder of 24 Hour Fitness,

A newcomer this week to the group, Vivek Ranadive, an Indian-born software tycoon who lives in Silicon Valley, and is a part owner of the Golden State Warriors. A spokesman for the private equity group could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

City Councilman Allen Warren, who attended a community forum Friday at the Robertson Center in Del Paso Heights, said he wasn't too concerned that the city staff missed its self-imposed deadline of releasing the term sheet Thursday afternoon. "It's a big deal," said Warren. "We've got to make sure we get it right."

About 70 people showed up at Shirey's forum in Del Paso Heights. More than 150 attended the previous night's forum in City Hall. There were about 70 at today's meeting at the Pannell Community Center.

Mayor Kevin Johnson could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Follow him on Twitter @tonybizjak.


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