The Kings Rebuild their Capital

The rotting remains of consumerist watering holes litter the American landscape. What was once a forum for youthful shenanigans, Wetzel’s Pretzels, and long hours of loitering, is now desperately seeking new ways to disconnect consumers from the ever-growing e-commerce network. As American shopping malls continue to lose the support of traditional retailers, many are stuck searching for a new way to stay afloat.

While many malls rely on Social Media and other communication strategies to attract more customers, A city in northern California hopes to break the trend through their exhausting renovation efforts. The Sacramento Downtown Plaza is a mall that has been at the center of downtown Sacramento for over 40 years, and has recently reentered Sacramento headlines.

A quick background into the Sacramento community and the Sacramento Kings will give context to the revolutionary decision made by the Sacramento City Council in 2014.

As a group of organizers based in Seattle began working towards relocating the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, the Sacramento Downtown Plaza quickly became the one source of hope for a community that desperately wanted to keep its team. Queue Sacramento’s superman: Vivek Ranadive, an outside investor who approached the former owners of the Sacramento Kings and the NBA about purchasing the Kings. Ranadive’s plan was to purchase the Kings and build a new arena in the capital of the most entertaining state in America. Shortly after Ranadive’s acquisition of the Kings, the Sacramento City Council approved plans to knock down portions of the Downtown Plaza mall in order to build the Golden 1 Center just blocks away from the state capital building.

The Sacramento Downtown Plaza became the focus of Sacramento’s fight for the Kings after investors expressed their interest in creating a centralized hub of businesses, restaurants, and attraction in downtown Sacramento. Once the decision was made to move the Kings into a downtown arena, the Downtown Plaza mall became an ideal location because of its well-documented struggles, and its ideal location.

Another major cog in the machine that fought tirelessly to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson stated, “We’re in a new era called Sacramento 3.0, where we do things differently and where we control our own destiny. It’s bigger than basketball. We’re revitalizing our downtown. It’s about civic pride.” Johnson, a former NBA player, understood what the Sacramento Kings organization meant to Sacramento and acknowledged what the Kings organization could continue to provide for the Sacramento community.

As I discussed in my previous post, sports organizations around the world, and especially in the United States often ask the city they reside in for millions of dollars to help build new arenas and stadiums. The Sacramento Kings are no different. While the Sacramento Kings have agreed to contribute approximately $284 million to the construction of Golden 1 Center, the Kings still asked the city of Sacramento to provide $223 million to cover a portion of the costs. While the initial investment is steep, the people of Sacramento are hopeful that the 35-year economic impact estimate of $11.5 billion will come true.

They hope to achieve $11.5 billion in economic revenue (predicted from the construction of the Golden 1 Center) by remodeling the remaining pieces of the Downtown Plaza mall. Construction is slated to begin for new structures that will house restaurants, apartments, hotels, and businesses within the newly defined “Downtown Commons”.

Construction of Golden 1 Center began in late 2014 and will be completed in September of 2016, just in time for the Sacramento Kings 2016-2017 season. The Sacramento community can only be hopeful at this point as they await the completion of the new Downtown Commons, and the Golden One Center.

However hopeful Sacramento Kings fans may be, Sacramento taxpayers can only wait and see if there $223 million dollar investment revitalizes the downtown mall and the surrounding areas, as predicted.

-Anthony

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