Sacramento approves $477 million Kings NBA arena

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Sacramento Kings fan J.R. Basa waits in line with dozens of other Kings fans to enter City Hall, where the council is scheduled to vote on a $477 million downtown arena for the Kings, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The city would be responsible for a $223 million subsidy, much of it financed through a bond backed by the city’s parking revenue. If approved, the Kings are scheduled to break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento Kings fan J.R. Basa waits in line with dozens of other Kings fans to enter City Hall, where the council is scheduled to vote on a $477 million downtown arena for the Kings, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The city would be responsible for a $223 million subsidy, much of it financed through a bond backed by the city’s parking revenue. If approved, the Kings are scheduled to break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Along with his Sacramento Kings T-shirt, Ben Paris-Salb, 4 months, wears ear protectors to handle the noise as he and his mother, Kylie, attend a rally in support of a new arena for the Sacramento Kings, outside the Sacramento (Calif.) City Hall, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The city council is scheduled to vote on a $477 million downtown arena for the team. If it’s approved, the Kings are scheduled to break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger talks to reporters before the City Council meeting at which a voted was scheduled on a $477 million downtown arena plan for the NBA basketball team, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The city would be responsible for a $223 million subsidy, much of it financed through a bond backed by the city’s parking revenue. If it’s approved, the Kings are scheduled to break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive, right, thanks Kings fan Steve Mammet for his support of the team as supporters of the team wait to enter City Hall where the city council was scheduled to vote on a $477 million downtown arena for the NBA basketball team, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The city would be responsible for a $223 million subsidy, much of it financed through a bond backed by the city’s parking revenue. If it’s approved, the Kings are scheduled to break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento Kings fan Jeff Braverman grimaces as he comforts his daughter, Lauren, 7, after learning that the Kings had received the eighth pick in the NBA basketball draft lottery, at a rally for the team outside Sacramento City Hall, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The city council was scheduled to vote on a $477 million downtown arena for the team. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sacramento’s City Council on Tuesday approved a financing plan for the Kings NBA franchise, clearing the way for construction on a $477 million downtown arena.

The council voted 7-2 on the package during a meeting that caps off the city’s lengthy struggle to keep the team from moving to Seattle a year ago. Mayor Kevin Johnson declared “Long live the Kings” after the final vote, and the chamber erupted in cheers along with team owners.

“We had our backs against the wall, but we defied the odds. We made a comeback for the ages and in doing so, I feel like we unleashed the very best that Sacramento has to offer,” said Johnson, a former three-time NBA All-Star who maintains strong connections to the league.

Under the 35-year deal, the city would be responsible for a $223 million subsidy, much of it financed through a parking revenue bond. The city would pay an estimated $21.9 million a year in debt service that would be paid through lease payments from the Kings and a projected increase in parking revenue.

The city also is transferring $32 million worth of land and allowing the team to operate six digital billboards.

In return, the Kings would contribute $254 million to construct the arena and develop surrounding land with a hotel, office tower and shopping.

Construction on the crown-shaped sports facility will break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season.

At the start of the council meeting, Kings President Chris Granger called it a historic day for the team and Sacramento region, saying the arena would serve as a hub for economic development. The project would bring 11,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs, he said.

“This is certainly bigger than basketball,” Granger said. “But it doesn’t just end there. At the very core, this project is about community.”

The NBA had told the city that it must open the arena by 2017 or risk losing the Kings. Former Kings owners George, Joe and Gavin Maloof considered moving the team to Las Vegas, Anaheim and Virginia Beach, Virginia, until announcing an agreement that called for investor Chris Hansen to buy the team and move it to Seattle.

Johnson led the city in a fight to keep the Kings and got the City Council to approve a plan for a new arena. The Maloofs then sold the Kings to a group led by TIBCO Software Chairman Vivek Ranadive.

The council approved a financing plan that allows for construction on the new sports and entertainment complex to replace an aging shopping mall a few blocks from the Capitol. The Kings have played in Sacramento since 1985 and currently play in the 26-year-old Sleep Train Arena, in the city’s north end.

Scott VandenBerg, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and chairman of the board of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the council

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