Kings to brief public on what’s happening with old Sleep Train arena

Sacramento Kings legends bid farewell to Sleep Train Arena

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Now that the Kings have moved to a new downtown facility, what will happen to the old Sleep Train Arena, with its acres of parking, in North Natomas.

That’s the topic of a public discussion to be held Wednesday, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the nearby Inderkum High School theater, hosted by the Sacramento Kings and several members of the Sacramento City Council.

Kings officials are expected to brief the public and take public input on the redevelopment potential for the 185-acre North Natomas site.

As part of a deal two years ago to build the new Golden 1 Center Arena in downtown, the city gave control of the existing Sleep Train Arena site and the surrounding acreage to the Kings, with marching orders to come up with new uses that would benefit the Natomas community.

North Natomas Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, in particular, has pushed the Kings to redevelop the site with as little delay as possible.

“Tonight’s Town Hall is a great opportunity to ask questions, get updates and meet the city team working in partnership with the Kings to redevelop the arena site in Natomas,” Ashby said in an email to The Bee. “The reuse is a priority for the City and I am grateful to my colleagues and our new mayor for their leadership on this issue as well.”

Under terms of the downtown arena deal, the Kings cannot use the Natomas arena for events that would compete with the downtown arena. Kings and city officials have said the 28-year-old Natomas arena – long known as Arco Arena – could be torn down.

In its place, the city and Kings have talked about trying to land a major medical facility, a higher education campus, or some mix of commercial, research, educational or housing facilities.

Kings President Chris Granger last year said the Kings had been putting out feelers to potential developers, but said none of the early proposals represented the cutting-edge concept the Kings and Natomas leaders are looking for.

“We are going to say no 10 times before we say yes to something,” Granger told The Bee at the time. “Our shared goal is to do something that makes a difference. That happens with high-value jobs, with something that is reflective of our region’s strength.”

Sacramento Regional Transit officials recently agreed to consider realigning a future light rail line through Natomas so that it cuts across that land, and includes a station there, making the site more usable for commuters.

The old arena will host its final event later this week, a series of Sacramento State University commencement ceremonies on Dec. 16 and 17.

The Kings have been hosting NBA basketball games, concerts and other events in the new downtown arena at 5th and K streets since early October. The new building hosted 19 events in 16 days in November, and has booked another 19 events this month, including Tuesday’s Stevie Nicks concert.

Watch the last Sacramento Kings final game at Sleep Train Arena in less than 15 seconds in this timelapse.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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