As details began to slowly emerge Friday regarding the much anticipated feasibility study from the Taylor/ICON group, I was particularly struck by a statement made by Mayor Johnson regarding preliminary square footage recommendations for the potential facility.
Mayor Kevin Johnson said Taylor told the officials an arena here should be in the 650,000-square-foot range. Power Balance Pavilion is 442,000 square feet. Sacramento doesn't need something on par with arenas built in L.A. or Orlando - but it does need something bigger than its current facility, Johnson said.
"You have to build a facility that's suitable to the market you're in," Taylor told the group, according to the mayor.
As Sacramento has been pushed to the brink of relocation primarily due to the laundry list of inadequacies plaguing Arco Arena II/PBP, anything short of the current standard for state-of-the-art NBA arenas leaves me concerned about where the project is headed. From past reading of the specs of recently completed venues, the quoted 650,000 square feet seemed to me on the small side.
Not to rehash too many details but to quickly summarize how we arrived at this predicament of relocation, Arco Arena II was built using private financing provided by Kings managing general partner at the time, Greg Lukenbill, and the other minority partners. In doing so the arena was designed and built on a shoestring budget pretty much dooming any future renovation attempts. To make matters worse, the era of modern arena design was ushered in by the evolutionary design of The Palace of Auburn Hills ironically opened the same year, with its multiple tiers of luxury suites and club seating. Arco Arena II was essentially antiquated before the ink dried on the plans. So do these new statements point toward a repeat of the Arco II gaffe putting the community potentially in the same position 15 to 20 years from the opening of a new building?
Using a few Google searches, I tried to gain some perspective as to how the square footage discussed by David Taylor stacked up to other NBA arenas around the country. I found most facilities averages between 700,000 and 800,000 square feet from my unscientific research. Here is a sampling:
The Rose Garden in Portland is approximately 785,000 square feet.
The Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte is approximately 780,000 square feet.
The AT&T Center in San Antonio is approximately 750,000 square feet.
Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is approximately 750,000 square feet.
American Airlines Arena in Miami is 782,400 square feet.
The Pepsi Center in Denver is approximately 675,00 square feet.
The brand spanking new Amway Center in Orlando is approximately 875,000 square feet.
Hell even the Honda Center in (not to be named) is approximately 650,000 square feet before any of the improvements are made to make the facility NBA "ready".
And for good measure I throw in the extremes in the venerable Oracle Arena in Oakland which is approximately 500,000 square feet and Staples Center in (not to be named) clocking in at a gluttonous 950,000 square feet.
So there you have it. If we are lucky enough to get a new venue built to save the Kings from moving will going forward with 650,000 square foot building put us back where we are now in 20 to 25 years? There are many varibles that will go into the equation. Raw square footage only goes so far with the quality of the building design being the more important of the two. ICON has a tremendous reputation for quality arena projects as we know so their involvement eases my skepticism to a degree. I would be much more at ease however, if I heard the Taylor/ICON group throwing around 750,000 square feet as a starting point. One would think a larger building size would allow the opportunity for more revenue streams/amenities to be built into the design which the lack of got us to this sad point. Since I am already playing amateur architect, I will also throw out there that a larger building size would also seem to make renovation an easier feat to future proof the arena down the road as arena design evolves. Just something to keep in mind as we hear more details from the Taylor/ICON group in the coming weeks.