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New Arena Will Pay For Itself. In a Way.

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Finally, the Sacramento Bee stops raining down hellfire and brimstone on the quality of life measures to analyze whether, in the long run, the arena is a good thing for economic development.

Short answer: Hell yes it is.

The development that will come in North Natomas after ARCO Arena gets torn down will contribute millions in new sales tax, property tax, and other revenue. And the new development around the new arena in the railyards will add even more to that.

The Bee's independent projections show that the combined new revenue from development in North Natomas and the railyards - development that is only possible if measures Q & R are approved by voters in November - would come out to $542 million over 15 years.

Oddly enough, that's the high-end estimate for the new arena.

With all that new revenue, the city can do a lot as far as extending public safety services. And the development in Natomas will get the schools a lot more revenue than the rickety-old ARCO does. Currently, the schools get 58 percent of the $715,000 the Maloofs pay in property tax annually. Once that area is redeveloped, they'll be getting 58 percent of an estimated $6.4 million in property tax annually. That's five times the revenue from the exact same land.

Every arena situation is unique. Lots of people have yelled and screamed that no study has ever shown a city benefitting from building a sports arena. Every city is different. I'd venture to say most other old arenas are sitting on land as viable for serious development as ARCO. Add in the obvious benefits of building the new digs downtown, and it seems clear that the economic perks associated with the new arena is far beyond expectations.