They came, they saw, they did not laugh in Sacramento's collective face:
Cal Expo and National Basketball Association representatives met with four major developers for what they call a "reality check" on their multibillion-dollar concept for a Sacramento Kings arena, a new fairgrounds, and an array of housing, offices and stores on the Expo site.
"What I learned this week is we have a viable project," NBA representative John Moag said. "There wasn't one developer who said, 'You're crazy.' "
This is what qualifies for victory in matters of a new Sacramento arena: when they don't laugh at you, you might have something viable.
For what it's worth, based on what I've heard, Mayor Kevin Johnson wants desperately to keep the team in Sacramento, and will go to great lengths to preserve the presence of the NBA in the city. But he prefers the long-dead downtown project. Keep that in mind, should this massive attempt fail.
By the way, the Bee's Tony Bizjak quotes both NBA and Cal Expo officials on the matter of being forced for the economy to bounce back. A study released Wednesday projected the state's economic recovery to come somewhere around 2011. Sacramento's economy could take longer, given the financial hits to state workers and the excessive impact the real estate apocalypse had on the area.
As a reminder, the Maloofs have said they need progress by March 2010. Which is quite a bit before 2011. As in, eight months away.