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Mayor Kevin Johnson is reassembling his arena task force next week to consider next steps in the effort to get a new arena built in Sacramento.
Mayoral Special Assistant R.E. Graswich and other staff from the mayor's office expect to meet Nov. 18 with at least 10 members of the original Sacramento First Task Force. Details for the private meeting at City Hall were still being finalized Wednesday.
Graswich will update the task force on the status of a proposal from their chosen developer, Sacramento Convergence Holding LLC, led by Gerry Kamilos and David Taylor. The developers’ exclusive negotiating period with the city ended late last month after they were unable to produce a viable plan on schedule.
The discussions will consider whether the city made mistakes with the Convergence team, what those mistakes might have been and what a logical next step might be, Graswich said.
"We want to have a frank discussion about where we're at," he said.
City staffers have also said they will propose a way to move forward with the process to the City Council. But that might not happen until January.
None of the seven teams behind competing arena proposals will be there. Five teams, including Convergence, have expressed interest in still being considered.
Some teams are in the process of finalizing updates. Most are essentially the same plans they originally submitted.
Task force members may be especially interested in updates to two proposals they identified as runners-up to the Convergence proposal, Graswich said. One would be from Thomas Enterprises, which owned the former Union Pacific railyards until last month and also proposed building an arena on the adjacent city land. The other was a plan by Ali Mackani and a group called CORE to build the arena where Westfield Downtown Plaza is now located.
Thomas Enterprises' proposal is "problematic" because of the company's financial problems – it lost ownership of the 203-acre Railyards development site after defaulting on loans for the property, Graswich said.
"It just creates questions about their viability, really," he said. "But that proposal was on city property. So that proposal is still of interest."
On Tuesday, Johnson traveled to suburban Chicago to meet with Inland American Real Estate Trust, the new owner of the former Union Pacific railyards. Inland officials sounded "enthusiastic" about the possibility of constructing the arena on adjacent city-owned land, Johnson blogged after the meeting.
A report on next week’s meeting is expected to be released soon afterward.
Johnson is eager to get the task force working again, after the group made progress last spring with its first recommendations, Graswich said.
"Hopefully, we can regain some of that momentum," he said.
Graphic provided by Thomas Enterprises as part of its downtown arena proposal.