Deal Fit For The Kings?

A Sacramento County, Calif., developer has offered to donate 70 percent of his land for public use, including a new arena for the Sacramento Kings NBA team, provided that local governments approve the rest of his land in the area for development.

Angelo Tsakopoulos told the Sacramento Business Journal the offer was similar to others he’s made that failed to gain traction because he couldn’t get buy-in from partnering landowners in Natomas, a suburb of the California capital. This time, he reportedly told a local radio audience, those partners are on board.

The group owns about 7,000 acres just east of Sacramento, according to the paper. In addition to a sports arena, the developer wants to build a “multi-university” complex.

Before he can seriously talk about building a home arena for the Kings, who are widely reported to be unhappy with their aging digs at ARCO Arena, Tsakopoulos will need the blessing of the Maloof family that is the team’s majority owner. The Maloofs also own the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

“First we need to see if the Maloof family is willing to work with us,” Tsakopoulos told the Business Journal. “Then we’ll go together to the community.”

But if the Maloofs aren’t interested and the Kings leave town after several attempts to finance a new arena, Tsakopoulos said the land could be used for another team.

“We already have the best fan base in America,” Tsakopoulos said. “If we have a quality arena, we’ll have a quality team even if the Maloofs don’t want to stay.”

In a novel financing plan, the arena would be funded by rezoning and developing about 2,000 acres of the 5,000 donated for public uses, Tsakopoulos’ CFO, Mark Enes, told the paper.

Enes estimated that sales could generate about $1 billion, with $400 million going toward the new arena and the rest to charities, meaning no public funding would be necessary.

Various arena financing plans have been proposed and rejected citing the usual suspects: cost, location and public funding. As is usually the case when a team wants a facility upgrade and it isn’t forthcoming, rumors of the team’s departure are widespread.

Joe Maloof last year predicted the NBA would reject Arco Arena as a venue within five years, adding that his company, Maloof Sports & Entertainment, wouldn’t pay more than 20 percent of the cost of a new arena, according to the Business Journal.

But the paper also reported that the Maloofs said they’d be willing to work with various local interests, including Tsakopoulos, to arrange a deal.