There is a city, with a Mayor, who used to be a professional basketball player. This Mayor wants to build a new arena for their basketball team....DETROIT Mayor Dave Bing, you say? NOPE! Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was a point guard for the Phoenix Suns n the 1990s. He was elected Mayor in 2008 and is focused on building a new basketball arena for the Kings. According to Governing Magazine, their current arena (Arco) is the oldest and smallest arena in the NBA. Its' location is far from the city centre and its has no luxury boxes. The voters do not want to raise their tax to support a new arena, and the city, like Detroit and others, faces a large budget shortfall, with the State not in any position to help. So the Mayor thought out of the box.  With the support of City Council, he negotiated a three-way land swap with a developer to help fund the arena. The city will offer land near the current arena as a new location for the state fairgrounds. The fair's current location would be sold to a developer, with the proceeds used to fund a new arena. It it all goes well, the new arena would anchor a new development in Sacramento's downtown on a brownfield site where the railyards used to be. The new arena will be part of a mixed development that will include an intermodal transportation hub with shopping, restaurants, offices and new residential units (12,000 of them). Unfortunately, the deal is still a deal and no contracts have been signed. The fair's governing board  and the legislature would both have to agree to the plan. Hmmmm....it does sound familiar.  The Detroit Red Wings want to play in a new arena and the Detroit Pistons are for sale.  Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, like Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, not only played in the NBA but he also is in the Hall of Fame.  Michigan's State Fair Grounds are in the city of Detroit (be it on the edge of the city, but we do have a train station that sits vacant, near a proposed intermodal facility that is connected to two strong neighborhoods of the City (Greektown and Southwest Detroit). While I am sure the Detroit City Council, State Fairground folks and Michigan Legislature would all have to agree, I think what they are doing in Sacramento, is a slam dunk for Detroit.

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