Time to get moving on the plan for a post-Kings Natomas
We know that the sculpture in front of the new Kings arena stands a good chance of being a Jeff Koons piece, and therefore a landmark worthy of substantial bragging. And we know where the hotels are going, and that pumps had to be added, because if you dig a hole in Sacramento, sooner or later it will be filled with rainwater (who knew?).
But we still don’t know what’s going to happen to Sleep Train Arena, or to the large tract of land around it in Natomas—made even larger by the “sweetening” of city land thrown in to make the deal pencil out for investors.
It can’t be used as an arena—there’s a non-compete clause and, besides, it’s old. And that pesky building moratorium in Natomas, because of flood risk, has slowed things down a great deal.
But once again, we’re being asked to “trust” that the land will be used, and used well—and, of course, that it will make money for the investors who are keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
We like the Kings. Basketball is fun, and rooting for the home team makes it more fun. But no matter how much fun we’re having, there are these nagging details: city land turned over to private investors; a known flood risk; lots of discussion about colleges and hospitals, but no guarantees. And there’s that really annoying “trust us” attitude.
Of all the things the late President Ronald Reagan ever said, there’s one we actually like: “Trust, but verify.” City council should demand a more specific and fast-tracked plan for the development of the former arena site. It is possible—even for developers—to do more than one thing at a time. Basketball players do it all the time. Let’s get moving. Natomas deserves it.