City Beat

Sacramento Kings plan spring groundbreaking for hotel, apartments, shops near arena

A new drawing released by the Sacramento Kings on Friday shows a planned hotel and residential tower at right, next to the site of a sports arena, left, being built at Downtown Plaza in Sacramento. The development will include retail shops, restaurants and a possible rooftop garden.
A new drawing released by the Sacramento Kings on Friday shows a planned hotel and residential tower at right, next to the site of a sports arena, left, being built at Downtown Plaza in Sacramento. The development will include retail shops, restaurants and a possible rooftop garden. Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings are planning to break ground this spring on a 16-story mixed-use tower and thousands of square feet of retail, restaurants and office space surrounding their downtown sports arena, team and city officials said Friday.

New plans released by the team and submitted to the city of Sacramento show the tower facing J Street, between Fifth and Sixth streets. The renderings also show a raised swimming pool deck overlooking a public plaza around the arena, an elevated green space attached to the rear of the tower and rehabbed retail space from one end of Downtown Plaza to the other.

“The arena was designed to be a great public edifice, but without activating the rest of downtown it wasn’t as attractive,” said Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents downtown. “The fact (the Kings) were able to put together this larger vision is amazing.”

The City Council lauded the arena as the shot that downtown needed when it approved a $255 million public contribution to the $477 million project earlier this year. But city officials said the plans released Friday are just as important to the future health of the city’s core.

“Either one of those two projects by themselves doesn’t have nearly the impact that the two will together,” said Assistant City Manager John Dangberg. “This is something we could have only dreamed about a few years ago, and here it is coming to fruition.”

The Kings have asked for a city Planning Commission hearing to discuss the plans on Dec. 11 and are seeking to have the necessary permits approved early next year. Team officials said they intend to have the project completed by the time the new arena opens in October 2016.

The focus of the development project is the 16-story tower. The first four floors of the building will be made up of a grand lobby, retail space, offices and hotel amenities. There will be 250 hotel rooms on the fifth through 11th floors, with 69 residences filling the top five floors. The tower is expected to take up nearly the entire block of J Street between Fifth and Sixth streets and be visible from Interstate 5, according to a project application with the city.

“We believe this project will help usher in an economic renaissance for Sacramento’s downtown core,” said Todd Chapman, president of JMA Ventures, the firm developing the area surrounding the arena. “It’s truly a vibrant and civic space that promises to provide a unique shopping, dining and entertainment experience for the entire Sacramento region.”

Michael Ault, head of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said city tourism officials are confident a 250-room hotel next to the arena will “complement the existing stock” of rooms in that part of the central city. “It’s a ways away from the Convention Center (where large hotels are located) and has a little bit different feel,” he said.

Downtown officials will now be eager to hear what tenants the Kings plan to land for the retail and restaurant space around the arena, Ault said.

“A hotel and arena are one thing, but people are going to want to see what kind of cafes and restaurants and bars will be there to create an entertainment district that will drive energy from Old Sac to the J-K-L (streets) corridor,” he said. “It’s got to be a mix of things.”

Team officials said it was too early to discuss specific retail tenants or name an operator for the hotel. But potential stores include those focusing on technology and shops selling outdoor or sporting goods. There will also be multiple restaurants on the site.

According to the drawings submitted to the city, a new entrance will be added to the Macy’s building that stands at the western end of the Downtown Plaza. That entrance will open up adjacent to the arena, roughly where Fifth Street passes under the site.

Retail space will be added to the outside wall of the second floor of the Macy’s store. The rest of the retail structures at the western end of the mall will be renovated, including possibly the movie theaters, according to plans submitted to the city.

An application submitted to the city said the building at the eastern end of the mall where 24-Hour Fitness stands will also be renovated. 24-Hour Fitness is expected to remain as an anchor tenant of the development.

Also included in the drawings is an elevated green space attached to the rear end of the mixed-use tower. That space could be used to grow produce for chefs working in the restaurants at the arena site.

All together, the Kings are seeking to build 715,000 square feet of retail and office space, residences and hotel rooms. The team has received the approval of the City Council to build up to 1.5 million square feet of development at the site and may add to the plans in future years. The 745,000-square-foot arena and practice facility are not included in the ancillary development figures.

“Since day one, we’ve implemented an inclusive and transparent process focused on gathering input and collaborating with various partners,” Kings team President Chris Granger said in a statement emailed by the team. “Today’s application is simply the next step in the conversation. We look forward to our continued work with the City to bring world class retail, restaurants and entertainment to this transformative project for the Sacramento region.”

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at www.sacbee.com/citybeat.

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