Policy Initiatives

The Downtown Sacramento Partnership is the voice for Downtown business and property owners and residents.  Since 1995, DSP has worked to grow a vibrant downtown by advocating for our stakeholders’ revitalization interests and working to reduce barriers to economic development and revitalization. 

It’s a Deal! 

This week the City of Sacramento and Sacramento Basketball Holdings (SBH) reached final agreement on all terms, setting the stage for a full council vote on the Entertainment & Sports Center (ESC) on May 20, 2014.

The total project cost of $477 million will be split with the city paying $254 million, $212 million of which will come from lease-revenue bonds repaid over a 35-year term.

Under the agreement, SBH receives: 

- Entitlements for a 732,000 sq. ft., 17,500-seat arena, and 1.5 million sq. ft. of additional development (475,000 office, 350,000 retail, 550 residential, 250-room hotel);

- A 35-year lease that gives all revenues from all events, plus sign district revenues, parking receipts from the Downtown Plaza garages, & digital signage revenues; 

- The right to permit alcohol sales in up to five nightclubs/bars in the ESC district;

- Several Downtown parcels near the arena site and a “right of first refusal” for the 800 K Block

In exchange, SBH will cover all construction cost overruns, ESC & plaza operations costs, and ESC & plaza maintenance and repair costs, though the city will loan SBH $12 million initially to cover predevelopment costs. This loan would be repaid by year’s end.


The City would also receive: 

- A guarantee that the Kings stay in Sacramento. If the Kings breached, they would pay damages of $580 million in year 1, $203 million in year 35)

- A guaranteed lease payment from SBH of $6.5 million annually to start. This sum escalates at least 3% annually until it hits over $18 million in the later years.

- An iconic and world-class arena and community plaza

- A guarantee that within ten years, SBH would also develop a hotel, office, or residential tower with ground floor retail in the ESC district.

DSP has been a long-time proponent of the ESC as a catalyzing tool for Downtown development, investment, and renovation, and that continuing and enthusiastic support will be on display on May 20.


Streetcar Rolls Forward  


The effort to return streetcars to Sacramento advanced last week when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved an application by SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) to enter the Smart/Small Starts grant program.

FTA’s acceptance means that all dollars spent to develop a streetcar going forward will be eligible for a federal match that can be up to $75 million, or one-half of the total projected $150 million cost to construct the 3.3 million streetcar line.

That $75 million local cost to build the line would be shared by Sacramento (2/3 of the cost) and West Sacramento (1/3 of the cost), a ratio that is based on the track miles that will be constructed on each side of the river. To summarize:

Total Capitol (Construction) Project Cost: $150 m

Federal Contribution: $75 m

Local Contribution: $75 m

(Sacramento share): $50 m

(West Sacramento share): $25 m

Community stakeholders, including Downtown Partnership Board members and staff, are participating in discussions through the Riverfront Streetcar Business Advisory Committee (BAC) to recommend how Sacramento pays its share.

This week, Congresswoman Doris Matsui came to brief the BAC and strongly endorsed the streetcar proposal, noting that there is growing competition nationally for federal transit dollars, and it is important that the project move forward quickly to ensure Sacramento stays in front of other applicants.

At the meeting, the finance discussion centered on creation of a Community Facilities District with borders that go three blocks and/or a quarter mile from the proposed streetcar line.

Property owners one block off the line would be assessed at a higher rate than those in the second or third block. This method was deemed most equitable because historic studies in locations like Portland show investment and development, as well as increased residential interest, is strongest on the line and slowly dissipates as distance increases.

In addition, owners whose properties are zoned for higher density uses would pay a higher assessment rate as well with the city’s general plan defining those areas. For example, property owners in the CBD would be assessed at the highest rate based on the CBD’s higher threshold for residential density.

It is critical to note that this financing discussion is in its infancy, and the city and SACOG staff will be doing outreach and soliciting input from community stakeholders. DSP is presently evaluating the proposal and will continue to contribute to ensure an equitable approach that allows the project to move forward consistent with the FTA’s timetable.

 For more information contact, DSP Sr. Policy Manager Chris Worden at cworden@downtownsac.org or 916.442.8575

Contact the DSF

Downtown Sacramento Partnership
980 9th Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
P: (916) 442-8575
F (916) 442-2053
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