The Sacramento City Council will take a pivotal vote tonight on whether to hire a team of consultants to lead the city through the early stages of constructing a new sports arena downtown. But with just a few hours remaining before the debate, it was unclear if the plan had unanimous support from the council.
City Manager John Shirey has recommended hiring a team of lawyers, investment bankers and other consultants to help the city look at potential funding sources, plan for the project's construction and help represent the city in negotiations with the Sacramento Kings and the National Basketball Association.
The total cost of the consultant team would be $555,000.
Mayor Kevin Johnson certainly supports the notion, saying at a morning press conference that "we have felt that in order to be successful, you have to bring in the best and the brightest."
The mayor also said it was possible that the cost of the contracts could be reimbursed to the city by a private investor in the project.
City officials are in talks with arena operator Anschutz Entertainment Group to provide up-front cash to the $387 million project. In exchange, AEG would run the facility and take in arena-related revenue.
Johnson described the ongoing talks with AEG as "very productive" and said the Los Angeles-based company was "strongly considering a proposal to be equity investors" in the project.
Before the city can bring AEG on board, however, the mayor said it is vital to sign Sacramento developer David Taylor and arena development company ICON Venue Group as project construction team. The council is scheduled to vote on entering an agreement with Taylor and ICON tonight.