A Rising Building, Rising Hopes 6

Golden 1 Center brings new life and 
new events to our city.

With all legal challenges stopped at the baseline and half a billion dollars in funding secured with a slam dunk, it’s all systems go for the final steps in building the Golden 1 Center atop the hole that used to be the moribund Downtown Plaza shopping center.

The Golden 1 Center will seat 17,500 for basketball games but could expand to as much as 20,000 for concerts and other events depending on the size of the stage and speaker setup. The new arena will have four levels with the lower bowl accounting for 36 rows and approximately 10,000 seats. The loft level features 48 mini-suites that can host eight people while suite level includes 34 spaces that can host up to 25 people. The upper bowl of the Golden 1 Center has a capacity of 6,000 and has the cheapest seats in the house at $12 for Sacramento Kings games.

At the top of the arena is a bar that stretches 360 degrees around the building and those who choose to stand or purchase standing-room-only tickets to events will still have unobstructed view of the floor.

One excellent and modern design feature of the downtown jewel is the Golden 1 Center’s use of alternative energy. The City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings claim that the building will be 100 percent powered by the sun, uses recycled water for cooling purposes and harnesses the Delta breezes for further power and comfort needs.

Another progressive design element is a secondary stage that serves as an amphitheater and outdoor plaza area that can accommodate as many as 10,000 concert goers.

“This arena can and should only exist in Sacramento,” Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger recently told the Sacramento Bee. “I wouldn’t want people to take this arena and put it in Brooklyn because it wouldn’t work there. But it works perfectly for us. This should be the place to go in Sacramento, irrespective of the arena. While there is no question this is designed primarily for basketball, we’re very mindful of the concert element, which is one reason you can put a stage on either side of the building.”

Parking may or may not be an issue as the building is scheduled to open by October 2016, just in time for the start of the Sacramento Kings’ 2016-2017 season. But more than 13,000 parking spots are within a half-mile of the Golden 1 Center and light rail lines converge at Seventh and K streets. The Amtrak train station is a short two-block walk away. Let’s see if public transportation becomes a viable alternative for those who do not live in the city center. But the infrastructure is there.

There were many who expressed disgust at the city leaders investing so much money in helping the Kings’ ownership secure financing for the new building. But a new building was sorely needed. The old Sleep Train Arena in North Natomas was a rust bucket and had so many structural and logistical problems associated with old age and technological deficits that something had to be done. The Downtown Plaza hasn’t been busy since the early 2000s and politicians and developers had been looking for a catalyst for downtown revitalization for decades.

Golden 1 Arena is that spark.

It’s the first domino is a line of new projects that have seen broken ground or are leaping off the drawing boards like Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins attacking a rebound and slamming home the put-back.

The Kings are on the rise, just like their new home. But how cool will it be to once again see the best musical acts in the world stop at the Golden 1 Center instead of bypassing Sacramento because the city no longer had a viable arena? Do you want ice hockey or another Arena Football team? The Golden 1 Center brings those opportunities to a tantalizing near reality.

So here’s a toast to a rising building and rising hopes.