Sacramento Mayor and former NBA point guard, Kevin Johnson, has staked much of his political reputation on keeping the Kings in California’s capital city. Now, the city is pinning its hope on eminent domain to stay on track with plans for the new arena that is fundamental to keeping the NBA franchise.
The owner of a Macy’s building on the site where the arena is to be built is refusing to sell or even allow an appraiser on the property. In turn, the owner of the Kings is working with the city to seize the property through eminent domain.
Scheduled to begin building next year and required to be finished by 2017, the arena is central to the city’s hopes of retaining the franchise as the NBA, which has so far helped keep the Kings in Sacramento and out of Seattle, has threatened to allow the team to move if construction does not follow that time frame.
The city councilman whose district would hold the arena, Steve Hansen, supported the eminent domain push saying, “Eminent domain is the constitutional right of the public. We pay forwhat we take, and I hope it doesn’t go there. But certainly that’s apower that the city has, that any public agency has.”