Sacramento City Council will be asked to begin formal negotiations with whales on Tuesday

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Bee reports that City Manager John Shirey will ask for approval from City Council on Tuesday to begin formal negotiations on a new Downtown Arena with a large equity investment group.

The Sacramento Bee reports today that City Manager John Shirey will ask the City Council on Tuesday to authorize him to begin negotiations on financing a new downtown arena with the large equity investment group. The City's goal is to have an approved and finalized term sheet to present to the NBA before the April 18th Board of Governor's meetings.

Shirey and the Mayor have already had numerous informal talks with a group believed to be led by Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov. It is currently unknown whether Burkle and/or Mastrov will be publicly revealed as the rumored whales by Tuesday.

The Bee also posted the following statement from the City Manager's office:

"After the Council agenda had been posted (Thursday), the mayor's office informed the city manager that discussions with the parties considering an offer to purchase the Sacramento Kings are proceeding well and that the city should be prepared to commence formal negotiations relating to the development of a new downtown entertainment and sports center," the city manager's office wrote. "To provide the City Council and public with as much time as possible for discourse and to be responsive to any request to commence negotiations, this item has been scheduled for Tuesday February 26. A staff report with the guiding principles is being prepared and will be available to the City Council and public as soon as possible. We apologize that the report will not be available until Monday, but given the circumstances we believe it is best to initiate the public discussion as soon as possible rather than postpone that discussion for another week."

There are two arena sites currently being looked at as viable locations: The Railyards and the Downtown Plaza. The Railyards were the site of April's failed arena plan that the Maloof Family backed out upon. In that deal, the city planned to leverage parking into a $255 million subsidy. The new deal will likely feature a similar investement by the city, although Mayor Johnson has indicated that the city could end up paying less. A possible reason for that could be the fact that the Downtown Plaza is rumored to be the site the city/whales are currently focusing on, and unlike the Railyards, the Plaza is privately owned.

The City Council voted last week 7 to 2 in favor of a symbolic resolution in support of keeping the Sacramento Kings and building a new downtown arena.

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