Sacramento Zoo linked as Kings weigh up future for former home

NBA basketball franchise the Sacramento Kings has revealed initial plans for the redevelopment of its former home arena, with the site being targeted as the new location for the Californian state capital’s zoo.

The Kings moved from the Sleep Train Arena to the new Golden 1 Center in 2016 and its former home has remained mostly unused since then. While precise details have not been disclosed, the Kings have now filed an application with the city to rezone the huge 183-acre site.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper said the application includes zoning for the possibility of 1.2 million square feet of commercial and retail, as well as employment or office sites, and up to 2,000 housing units. The Kings hope to complete an environmental review process that will have the land ready for development this time next year.

“This flexible master entitlement plan represents an important step in the process towards entitling the Natomas site to attract an end user that supports our region,” the team’s chief operating officer Matina Kolokotronis said.

“We have collected feedback from city leaders, stakeholders and interested parties to develop a dynamic plan that is capable of adapting to a broad range of opportunities. We look forward to continuing to develop this plan in coordination with the community and city leaders.”

The Bee said the site has been linked to a variety of repurposing projects, including a major medical campus or hospital, a corporation or high-tech campus, or a higher education campus, as well as mixed-use development.

Last week, CBS13 reported that the City of Sacramento was investigating moving the Sacramento Zoo from its current Land Park location to the Sleep Train Arena site. On Monday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg told the broadcaster: “An iconic wildlife park has the potential to be another great destination for Sacramento.

“While there’s a lot of work ahead to develop a solid finance plan, the idea deserves a full exploration. The Kings themselves may have their own ideas. I look forward to considering those fully as well. The main thing is: Let’s get started on creating something great for Natomas, the city and the region.”

The Bee noted that while the zoning application filed by the Kings would allow for such usage, the team has had no contact from zoo officials.

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