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Kings Break Ground On New Arena

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

It's been three months since the first heavy machinery swung into action- tearing down the first part of the Downtown Plaza Mall between fifth and seventh streets.

Today, you can see from J to L Streets across the vacant lot.

With several large pieces of machinery in the background, elected officials and team owners donned purple hard hats to break ground.  

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says the arena will change the way the world views the city.

"Today is the day and this is the moment that the entire country and world is put on notice that Sacramento will become the definition of a world-class city," said Johnson.

There is still debris on the edges of the construction zone and some old sewer pipes that must be removed. But, Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger says the building site is clear.

"We'll be digging about ten feet further into the ground, de-watering, and then we'll start building the foundation," said Granger.

Granger says you'll be able to see steel coming out of the ground soon after the new year.

The City of Sacramento says the project will have created 11-thousand jobs by the time it is complete.

Jonathan Padron with Turner Construction says he's excited to be a part of it.

"It's something actually to be  proud of, to be a part of. It's actually something that I've been looking for for awhile. Our company's been talking about it, and we had our doubts as to if it was actually going to happen.  I'm actually glad it actually came all together."

The City says the project will cost $477 million to build.

The City of Sacramento will pay $223 million up front by issuing bonds for the project.

Financing and the California Environmental Quality Act were used by opponents this summer as the basis for lawsuits against the project. All have failed to achieve the delays opponents had sought.

Developers plan to begin renovating the remaining portion of the Downtown Plaza once the existing tenants have left. The Kings declined to renew their leases.

Tonight, the Kings open the 2014-15 NBA season at Sleep Train Arena against the Golden State Warriors.

View Livestream Of Groundbreaking