Turner Construction, the international firm that is building a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers, has been signed to construct a new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings, the team announced Tuesday.
Turner would begin building the new arena at the Downtown Plaza immediately upon finishing Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara next year. The firm, which has had an office in Sacramento for 30 years, also built the new Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport.
New Kings President Chris Granger, who began his duties in Sacramento on Monday, said Turner is "the best in the business."
"We have a world-class team with great experience building the best venues in sports," Granger said.
Dale Koger, vice president of Turner's sports division, said key personnel working on Levi's Stadium will transfer to the Sacramento arena project when the football stadium is complete.
Levi's Stadium is scheduled to be finished next August, and city officials in Sacramento are planning to break ground on the new Kings arena around the same time.
"I think this project will energize the downtown area and add tremendous vitality to the state capital," Koger said in a phone interview.
Granger said he has spent his first two days in Sacramento meeting with team executives and members of the ownership group. The Kings also are in the process of interviewing architectural firms to help design the new arena, Granger said.
At the same time, the city is conducting an environmental review for the proposed $448 million arena. The City Council has tentatively approved a $258 million subsidy for the project – most of it from future parking revenues – that would be finalized after the completion of the environmental review.
Granger said he was aware of a petition drive under way to place a measure on the June 2014 ballot that, if passed, would require voter approval of public subsidies of sports facilities. But he shied away from criticizing the campaign.
"Sacramento is an important city and it deserves an important space," he said.
Mayor Kevin Johnson wasn't as reserved when asked about the same topic earlier in the day.
"At the end of the day, I'm hearing from many more people who are actually perturbed by the people who are trying to gather signatures," the mayor said. "So there's this organic battle going on between what I believe is the majority of people who want to see Sacramento take a step forward and a few folks who want to block it."