Mayor Kevin Johnson talks about an upcoming presentation on the arena at City Hall Tuesday.

A new arena for Sacramento is likely to cost nearly $400 million and will likely have the Kings as tenants but not operators, the mayor said Tuesday.

The cost of the entire project, which would build a new arena from the ground up, is expected to be far lower than the $600 million proposed to build an arena in 2006 – partly because the recession has lowered construction costs and partly because the plans will call for a "smaller but yet world-class venue" of less than 700,000 square feet that fits the region’s needs, according to Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Power Balance Pavilion, the Kings’ current home, is 442,000 square feet.

"The viability of this project happening in Sacramento is real," Johnson said in a press conference at City Hall. "We have the best in the business right now looking at it."

In a special City Council meeting set for Thursday afternoon, arena developers will present a report on a feasibility study that will outline the options that exist for building a new facility. The presentation will give council members and the public a first look at the study’s results.

The cost is still being finalized before the meeting, but the price will be under $400 million – somewhere between $350 million to $395 million, said Johnson, who dispelled recent reports the arena price tag will be $370 million.

"I don’t think 370 is accurate. I actually haven’t seen the final number. I’ve been told that’s not an accurate number," he said. "I do think it will be under $400 million, which is important."

The ICON-Taylor development team will reveal the expected cost, possible revenue streams, financing options, location analysis, design, facility programming and timelines at 2 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. The developers have been working on the study since early February.

Johnson reiterated that a public-private partnership will be needed to pay for a new arena. Developers are putting together a variety of public financing options and types of partnerships to be considered.

After the feasibility study is presented to the council Thursday, developers and officials must start work to determine how much private money will be available to help pay for an arena and how much of a gap remains that may be filled by public financing.

Maloof Sports and Entertainment, which co-owns and controls the Kings, is likely to make a contribution to that partnership by being just the major tenant – and not the arena’s year-round operator. If so, the city will need to find an arena operator, Johnson said.

Johnson said he’s been talking with everyone who may be interested in playing a role in the arena effort, including Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, which owns and operates the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Sprint Center in Kansas City and many other sports facilities.

City officials will be asked to decide whether to contribute land the city owns – most likely a site at the downtown railyards.

Next week, the mayor will announce a regional commission being pulled together to spearhead a campaign to build the arena. Johnson said it is too early to talk about what kind of contribution might be made from cities and counties in outlying areas.

The Maloofs announced May 2 that the Kings will remain in Sacramento another year. At that time, the Maloofs and the National Basketball Association set a March 1 deadline for the region to make a substantial effort to provide the team with a new home.

City officials hope to have arena financing and other issues solved by November or December, Johnson said.


Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.