About three years ago, the city helped developer Thomas Enterprises buy the entire Railyards land by chipping in $55 million for a 30-acre piece of the property. The money was just a placeholder. The two sides agreed to each name a value for the parcel, then let an arbitrator decide on a final price at later date. Only problem: the appraisals are $80 million apart. Assistant City Manager John Dangberg says the land’s value is in the eye of the beholder:
Dangberg: “If you assume all the development in the downtown was to land on that parcel and build out to its max capacity, you would come up with a particular value. And if you assume that you have a competitive market, it’s gonna lower the value of the land.”
Closing arguments wrap up today, and the arbitrator should rule within a month. If Sacramento wins, Dangberg says the city will reinvest any extra money in the Railyards. But Dangberg wouldn’t say where the cash-strapped city would find the money if the developer wins. Thomas officials declined comment for this story.
By the way, this isn’t just any piece of land. It’s set aside for the new downtown transit hub, or intermodal -- and now, the site of the proposed Sacramento Kings arena too.