Mayor Kevin Johnson today unveiled the names and proposed locations of those seven submitted Sacramento arena plans. Remember that these all come in addition to the ongoing effort by the NBA and Cal Expo to place an arena at the state fairgrounds, a plan the mayor has marked as too slow and (depending on which day you catch him) doomed.
A few of the names are serious. Thomas Enterprises, the group that is doing the railyard redevelopment near downtown, submitted a proposal. That's a serious proposal, no matter how it actually looks, just because of the company involved. In fact, you wouldn't be crazy for thinking the mayor's whole request to the people of Sacramento for ideas was just an elaborate plan to get Thomas to submit an idea. An arena at the railyards is preferred by so many parties, and Thomas is the cheese there.
Matt Haines, whose restaurants (including various incarnations of Bistro 33) have good reputations around town, wants to wedge an arena between the river and I-5 south of the Tower Bridge, a plan which would seem difficult in Sim City, let alone Real Live Sacramento. The city is attempting to get that parcel (some 23 acres) developed, but plans are already in motion. Replacing a riverfront park or retail with an arena doesn't seem all that easy. (Nice idea, though. Can't wait to see the full proposal on this one.)
But every other idea -- all five of them -- might as well be written on papyrus and shoved into a kiln. No offense to the proposers, but ... the Downtown Plaza? As convenient as that'd be for the civil servant workforce and, um, Greyhound enthusiasts, I'm not seeing it. One other proposal is for a combo arena-theme park (!) at Cal Expo. Another is for Natomas, which is a complete non-starter for the Maloofs. Another is a railyards idea -- if it goes in at the yards, Thomas will be the developer. Another would replace a city parking garage at 3rd and L streets with an arena, which screams to me both "tight fit" and "second least desirable downtown location" (with first being the Plaza).
On January 14, the mayor will host a forum in which all seven ideas will be fully presented. I look forward to seeing the Thomas and Haines proposals. The others? Sorry, y'all. Maybe they have some clever ideas that can be added to one of the feasible projects. But that will likely be the extent of their value.