City, Kings postpone release of arena deal terms

While vowing the deal will get done, Sacramento officials and the owners of the Kings on Thursday postponed releasing a huge pile of documents spelling out the final deal terms of the proposed arena at Downtown Plaza.

In a joint statement, they said the document release was delayed “in order to spend more time to perfect the provisions and details.”

In an interview with The Bee, Kings President Chris Granger said there are very few unresolved issues. “We are 99.9 percent done,” he said. “It is just complicated. There are so many issues we need to make sure are buttoned up on what is a 35-year deal. We are getting there.”

He declined to say what remains undone, but indicated outstanding issues revolve around language on how the Kings and the city can protect “ourselves against worst-case scenarios.”

City Manager John Shirey said the city “will honor our promise” of releasing the documents 10 days before the scheduled May 13 vote by the City Council. That suggests the documents will go out by Saturday.

Craig Powell, head of the Eye on Sacramento watchdog group, issued a statement calling on the city to honor its earlier statement that it would have the documents ready 13 days before the vote, rather than simply the legally required 10 days.

“It ... sounds like the Kings owners and the city are still locked in negotiations. The additional time the parties are taking to negotiate a final deal should not come at the expense of the public’s opportunity to fully review the terms of the final deal,” Powell wrote in his statement.

The council has to vote on 12 different agreements and subagreements, as well as certify the environmental impact report. The Kings have said demolition could begin at the eastern end of Downtown Plaza the day after the vote.

Meanwhile, the arena project continued to move forward on other fronts Thursday. More than 100 potential subcontractors attended an outreach meeting at City Hall with representatives from project manager ICON Venue Group and general contractor Turner Construction, and the mood was upbeat. “Make no mistake, it’s going to happen,” ICON executive Tom Noonan told the subcontractors about the proposed arena.

While the specific deal points have yet to be released, the general terms were unveiled by city officials two weeks ago. In a summary to the City Council, city officials said the arena price tag has jumped by $30 million in the past year, to $477 million, with the Kings picking up the additional costs. The Kings are expected to contribute $222 million to the project. The city’s share has now shrunk by $3 million, to $255 million. The city will finance the bulk of its contribution by borrowing against future parking garage revenue.

The additional costs include the relocation of the team’s practice facility out of the arena and into an adjacent building, plus enhancements to the public plaza outside the arena.

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