Until There's a Funding Plan, a Downtown Kings Arena is Just a Mirage

Mayor Kevin Johnson continued his crusade to get that prospective new Kings arena built downtown instead of at Cal Expo this week by asking for semi-formal proposals from area developers. According to The Bee, he's getting quite a bit of interest, which is surprising if only because Cal Expo has seemingly received little to no attention from developers.

But ideas on where to situate and how to design a new NBA arena have never been in short supply. It's the funding that matters, which is why Cal Expo has been intriguing: the public-private partnership there allows financing options unavailable to fully private projects. Pulling the public into financing a $500-600 million arena downtown would likely involve taxes, and taxes ain't happening in this town this decade. Johnson told The Bee he'll favor plans which don't include new taxes, but something tells me he'll have trouble finding proposals which don't include new taxes.

A tax for any funding program which includes an NBA arena will not pass in this city or county. Let's hope some developer has a magical funding solution amenable to the private financiers required, the mayor and the Maloofs. I would love nothing more. But I think it's a longshot at that location, given the extra costs and particular parties (like Thomas Enterprises) involved.

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