(Think Big Executive Director, Chris Lehane stands with (L-R) Mike O’Brien, Sacramento Magazine- Hotel Association Pres. Doug Warren and Visitors Bureau’s Mike Testa)
The “significant contribution” hotels would pay toward the arena effort was revealed Friday after the Think Big Sacramento meeting with area hospitality leaders.
While the figure is still being negotiated, representatives with the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau appear to be ready to write a yearly check.
“Six figures at the very least, more likely seven figures,” said Mike Testa, the Senior Vice President of Convention Sales & Business Development.
Based on a 30 year span, which is typically the life of an arena, that could mean between $20-million and $30-million of the estimated $400-million cost of the proposed downtown sports and entertainment complex.
“There are no commitments as far as amounts but we are working through the (Convention and Visitors Bureau),” Sacramento Marriott General Manager, Doug Warren said.
The money would exchange hands between the S.C.V.B. and city. Those dollars come from fees paid by those in the Sacramento Hotel Association. Concurrently the hotel representatives are working toward voting on upping the Sacramento Tourism Business Improvement District fees. That is being explored to give the Sacramento Convention Center a facelift, but it does not appear that those dollars would go to directly pay for the arena.
Warren told me after the meeting Friday that they want to come to a vote by May on upping fees to the S.C.V.B. Adding, “We would have some type of framework or idea of the contribution before then.” It seems that would be helpful for council members in favor of the arena who could then point to pending contributions from the private sector.
Potential operator, Anschutz Entertainment Group, and the NBA/Kings have yet to announce how much money each would be willing to put up for the arena at the Railyards, but their portions will have to be in the tens of millions to make the project feasible.
The hotels involvement was first reported December 14th, 2011 and it appears talks are continuing as the city awaits qualifying bids from private companies regarding the sale of public parking spaces and garages.
Mayor Kevin Johnson and the rest of the council are still operating on a timeline that sets a March 1st deadline. That was the original relocation filing date the NBA gave the city to have a “critical path” outline for an arena, or the Kings’ owners could file for relocation.