New Arena On Cal Expo Site

The California State Fair site in Sacramento, Calif., is one step closer to getting an arena after its board voted unanimously May 21st to work together with the NBA over the next six months on a detailed plan for the 360-acre location.

"This board sits astride what is perhaps the most valuable site in the state of California," said NBA Commissioner David Stern, who, along with former Gov. Pete Wilson, Cal Expo’s chief negotiator, gave a progress report to the board about the project.

The plan will include a new venue for the Sacramento Kings basketball team and revamp the 40-year-old state fairground complex – and make the development profitable to pay for both, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The paper pointed out that the plan is to build enough homes, offices, retail stores and restaurants to cover the cost of a new state fair facility and replacing ARCO Arena with the new basketball venue. The 17,000-capacity arena, which is 20 years old, is viewed by the NBA as obsolete.

According to the Bee, a new arena is estimated to cost around $500 million and the cost of rebuilding the fairgrounds is pegged at $150 million.

The cost of building roads and other infrastructure needed, as well as alleviating traffic congestion at Cal Expo, will also be examined during the next 180 days.

By the end of the six-month planning period, Cal Expo and the NBA will solicit proposals from interested developers. Stern told the paper that the NBA has already talked to six developers, some unsolicited.

The developer chosen for the job would be required to fund construction for the arena and redevelopment of the fairgrounds while the land would be leased from the state, according to the Bee. After the property lease expired, control of everything on the site would eventually revert to Cal Expo.