In today's Sacramento Bee, Ailene Voisin dug deeper into the group behind the plan to renovate Power Balance Pavilion. This group, led by some of the original planners/designers/builders of ARCO I and II, believe they can renovate the building to last for about another decade at the cost of somewhere around $100 million.
As many of you will remember, the subject of renovating Power Balance Pavilion was broached at the notorious George Maloof Press Conference in which the Maloofs and their economist systematically killed the downtown arena deal. In George Maloof's own words:
"Why don’t we look at redoing Power Balance?" he asked. "It’s less money, less pressure on everybody. We already have the infrastructure, the parking. It’s all there, and the cost to the city would be a lot less."
For many, this came as a huge surprise, because it was the Maloofs themselves who for years had said renovation was not an option, that a new arena was the way forward. But when it came time to pay up for the new arena, the Maloofs backtracked, calling it a bad deal.
Why the change of heart? The main issue seems to lie with the fact that in a new arena, the Maloofs would be a tenant, earning less revenue than in their current situation at Power Balance Pavilion, where they retain all revenue from all events and parking. Considering the fact that the Kings are their only money making enterprise at the moment, that kind of makes sense, from the Maloof side of things.
What does not make sense is if the Maloofs expect the city to still chip in for the majority of such a renovation. In fact, the city should not spend a dime on renovating a building they do not own and will not see any of the revenue from. Mayor Kevin Johnson has come out strongly against spending city money on such a plan, and I urge him to stick to his guns there.
The new arena made sense for the city to contribute a huge share. The city would have owned the facility, would have seen huge job creation and economic development in the surrounding area, and would have received cuts of the revenue. The new arena would have also essentially guaranteed that the Sacramento Kings would stay for at least 30 more years (a number that the Maloofs wanted cut down to 15). A new arena still makes sense for the city, even without the Kings, so it's no wonder that the Mayor and the city are still looking to build one, just without the Maloofs. This would be the Sprint Center model, which has been a financial success for Kansas City and arena operator AEG even without an anchor tenant.
Again from today's Bee article:
"A new arena is in the future, but give us seven, eight years at Power Balance Pavilion." - Joe Maloof
If the Maloof family wants to renovate Power Balance Pavilion, that's fine by me. But they should do so with their own money since they're the ones receiving all the benefits. I think we all know what the chances of that happening are.