Kings sketch plans for rebuilding Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza with a hotel, housing and retail

The Sacramento Kings have submitted preliminary development plans for the site surrounding the proposed arena at Downtown Plaza, envisioning a hotel, apartments, retail and more.

In a 13-page planning entitlement application, Kings executives sketched out their vision for a 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use development along J Street, on the northern edge of what is currently the aging shopping mall. The arena is supposed to be built in the southeast quadrant of the mall, adjacent to the proposed redevelopment complex.

The document represents a formal step in the process of developing portions of Downtown Plaza not reserved for the arena itself – something city officials and the new Kings owners have talked about for months.

Plans by the Kings’ new owners to redevelop the mall adjacent to the proposed arena played a key role in convincing the City Council last March to tentatively approve a $258 million public subsidy for construction of the arena, as elected officials hailed the notion of the facility as a catalyst for reviving the moribund Downtown Plaza.

The plans were submitted by the Kings earlier this week and posted late Friday afternoon on the city’s website.

They are in line with what has been contemplated by city officials and the new Kings ownership group since Downtown Plaza emerged as the site for the new arena earlier this year: an ambitious mixed-used project designed to revitalize the downtown district well beyond the current walls of the mall site.

While the arena itself is supposed to open in 2016 at a cost of $448 million, there is no price tag or timetable for the surrounding development.

The new team owners, who announced during the spring that they were buying the mall, propose a 250-room hotel and 550 units of residential housing, with the housing “likely in two or more towers,” according to a planning document. About 350,000 square feet would be devoted to retail and commercial space, and another 475,000 square feet for office development.

Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said the entitlement application “shows the level of work that’s been completed to advance this project.”

“This is just another big step forward,” he said. “This project becomes more real with each passing month.”

Dangberg said the application will be reviewed by the city’s planning commission Dec. 12. Then, on Dec. 16, the city is scheduled to release a draft environmental impact report on the project, with a public workshop on that document scheduled for two days later.

Dangberg and other city staff are also scheduled to update the City Council on the arena project – and its financing plan – at the council’s Dec. 10 meeting. An update will also be provided on the outreach efforts under way to find local construction contractors to bid on the project.