Kudos for keeping the Sacramento Kings—now let’s take a look at the bill

SN&R wants the arena and downtown development project to succeed. But we have questions—many

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It’s over. The Kings will stay.

SN&R enjoys pro basketball and understands the value of keeping the NBA in town, so we congratulate everyone who saved the team: fans, the mayor and city manager, investors.

Congrats—now, let’s take a look at the bill.

The arena subsidy was no doubt the most critical piece when it came to persuading NBA owners to vote against the team’s relocation. The city says its cost will be $258 million; critics who’ve filed a suit against City Hall pin its value at $338 million. Either way, it is a component of the largest redevelopment project in Sacramento history.

It’s happening. So, let’s ensure that it succeeds. That the process is transparent, that the development is smart growth and that dollars are spent on local businesses.

A refresher on the plan: The city will pitch in anywhere from 57 percent to 75 percent of the costs to build a new arena, which it will own. The footprint will be at the current Downtown Plaza mall, at L and Seventh streets, and the aim is to cut ribbon in time for the 2016 NBA season.

Sacramento will take out a loan against future parking revenue to come up with the majority of its subsidy (the city also is giving land, parking spots and digital billboards to the developers and investors). City leaders say ticket surcharges, revenue sharing and other taxes will make up the approximately $9 million in lost parking revenue.

In exchange, downtown gets a $1 billion makeover.

SN&R waved many red flags about this plan. We still have concerns.

To begin, City Hall must provide specifics and answer questions. How much is the total subsidy amount? Will the city meet the estimated $15 million debt obligation for the parking loan without tapping into the general fund each year?

Also, we need more guarantees that the additional $500 million in downtown redevelopment will actually occur. What’s the timeline? Will this development be housing or retail shops, hotels or parking garages? Is there a quota for spending construction dollars with local businesses? Will the project be green-friendly?

There are so many other questions, so it’s imperative to keep the arena process transparent, local, green and smart—something it hasn’t been thus far.

This will only succeed if it improves downtown for everyone, not just NBA fans.